FG Doesn’t Know Real Owners Of Oil Wells In Nigeria
*Gives Seven-day Ultimatum To Lease And Licence Holders To Disclose Owners
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission has issued a seven-day ultimatum for all lease and licence holders operating in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, to disclose the real owners of their companies.
In the directive signed by its Chief Executive, Gbenga Komolafe, on Thursday, the commission demanded that the information to be disclosed must include the identity (ies) of the beneficial owner(s), the level of ownership, and details of how control is exerted.
He stressed that the full list of real owners of their companies is submitted to the commission.
The new directive released by NUPRC was tagged, “Notification No. 1 to All Licence and Lease Holders in Nigeria on the Requirement for Submission of Beneficial Ownership Information.”
The move came on the heels of the recent release of a beneficiary ownership register by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Komolafe had also recently hailed NEITI’s efforts in the promotion of an open and accountable system in the management of extractive resources, explaining that NUPRC and NEITI shared a common vision of transparency in Nigeria’s energy sector.
According to Komolafe, the NUPRC is fully committed to working with NEITI to deepen Nigeria’s implementation of contract transparency and beneficial ownership disclosures in the country.
Komolafe stated, “At the NUPRC, we are implementing the beneficial ownership reporting system, as it is a statutory requirement, which demands full disclosure of beneficial ownership information.
“The commission is engaging the oil and companies to ensure their mandatory compliance.”
In the latest notice, NUPRC stated that those expected to comply with the directive, are persons with significant control of at least five per cent shares and directly or indirectly holding the same percentage of voting rights, among others, adding that the significant persons were those otherwise having the right to exercise or actually exercise significant influence or control over a relevant person; or having the right to exercise, or actually exercising significant influence or control over the activities of a trust or firm, whether or not it is a legal entity.
NUPRC said, “The commission hereby requires all entities that apply for or hold a participating interest in an exploration or production oil and gas licence, lease or contract to provide information of their owners, including the identity(ies) of their beneficial owner(s), the level of ownership and details about how that ownership or control is exerted.
“Accordingly, all relevant persons are hereby required to provide the information of persons with significant control over them: A person with significant control means any person directly or indirectly holding at least five per cent of the shares or interest in a relevant person.
“Or a (person) directly or indirectly holding at least 5 per cent of the voting rights in a relevant person; and directly or indirectly holding the right to appoint or remove a majority of the directors or partners in a relevant person.”
Affected persons were to use the beneficial ownership declaration form included in the notification.