Nigerian Government issues 7-day ultimatum to oil, gas license holders to reveal identities of their real owners
The Nigerian Government through the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, has issued a 7 days ultimatum to all Oil & Gas lease and license holders in the country, to disclose the identities of their real owners detailing the identity (ies) of the beneficial owner(s), the level of ownership, and details about how control is exerted.
Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, NUPRC Chief Executive, in a statement signed on Thursday and received by EnergyDay at the weekend, released this directive instructing the stakeholders to comply.
Komolafe in the directive tagged, “Notification No. 1 to All Licence and Lease Holders in Nigeria on the Requirement for Submission of Beneficial Ownership Information.”
He said, ” NUPRC is implementing the beneficial ownership reporting system, as it is a statutory requirement, which demands full disclosure of valuable ownership information.
“The commission is engaging the oil and companies to ensure their mandatory compliance.”
EnergyDay gathered that NUPRC’s move was in compliance with Nigeria’s membership of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), to promote the open and accountable management of oil, gas, and mineral resources.
Speaking further on the relevance of the beneficiary ownership reporting system, the NUPRC’s boss, said Nigerians deserved to know the identities of persons operating in the industry as part of entrenching transparency and encouraging the right engagement amongst industry stakeholders.
This directive, according to Komolafe, affects persons with significant control of at least five percent shares and directly or indirectly holding the same percentage of voting rights, among others.
He 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 percent of the shares or interest in a relevant person.
“Or a (person) directly or indirectly holding at least 5 percent 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.
”In addition, it stated 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.
“All current holders of participating interest in an exploration or production oil and gas license, lease, or contract are hereby required to fill out the beneficial ownership declaration form and send it to the commission, not later than seven days from the date of this notification.
“All entities that henceforth apply for participating interest in an exploration or production oil and gas licence, lease or contract shall also be required to fill the beneficial ownership declaration form and submit it with their application.”
NUPRC however noted that it has already informed all affected stakeholders that the information shall be provided using the beneficial ownership declaration form included in the earlier notice.
It added that notice of change in persons in significant control over a relevant person shall be provided by the relevant person within 30 days of the change using the change in the beneficial ownership declaration form.
EnergyDay gathered that the import of the Beneficiary Ownership status in the sector would help to widen the scope, content and dimension, those who require industry information and data for constructive civic engagements, expected to yield visible impacts.
According to Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative(NEITI), the citizens’ growing interest in BO disclosures revolves around the strong linkage between ownership of these assets, revenue flows into the federation account from the sector, prudent utilisation, support for national development and poverty reduction.