Public Consultation/Sensitization on the Establishment of the Beneficial Ownership Register by the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020
Organized by Open Government Partnership (OGP) Nigeria Secretariat in partnership with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and with support from Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre
(CISLAC) And Oxfam in Lagos on Thursday, 27 August, 2020
A one-day Public Consultation/Sensitization on the Establishment of the Beneficial Ownership Register by the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 was held in Lagos on Thursday, 27 August, 2020 by the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Nigeria Secretariat in partnership with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The consultation was organized with support from the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Oxfam in Nigeria. The consultation was attended by representatives of various stakeholder groups including government, Civil Society and the Media.
The meeting was addressed by the Registrar-General of the CAC, Alhaji Garba Abubakar; the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani); and the Civil Society Adviser of the OGP Nigeria Secretariat, Stanley Achonu. It was chaired by the immediate past Co-chair of the National Steering Committee of OGP Nigeria, Edetaen Ojo.
Participants welcomed the passage of the Companies and Allied Matters Bill 2020 and the signing of the Bill into Law by President Muhammadu Buhari to the extent that it provides a legal framework for the establishment of a Beneficial Ownership Register, which Nigeria committed to putting in place in 2016 when the country joined the OGP.
They also expressed appreciation for the assurances by the Registrar-General of the CAC, Alhaji Garba Abubakar that the Beneficial Ownership Register will be publicly available in Open Data format consistent with Nigeria’s OGP commitment and previous statements by President Muhammadu Buhari that the Register will be open.
Participants recommended as follows:
- That the CAC should rigorously implement the relevant provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 relating to the establishment of the Beneficial Ownership Register, including adopting appropriate regulations which elaborate the initiative and give full effect to all aspects of it.
- That the CAC and other relevant authorities should ensure that the openness as well as public availability and accessibility of the Register is given legal backing by the adoption of an appropriate legal instrument, which should at a minimum be in the form of Regulations.
- That the Regulations to be formulated by the CAC should draw from other existing legal instruments and frameworks such as Data Protection Regulation (2019) and Freedom of Information Act (2011). The regulations should be developed through a consultative and participatory process involving key stakeholder groups like the private sector, the media, and civil society.
- That the OGP Secretariat should work with relevant actors, including the CAC, to develop an appropriate communication strategy which should facilitate public awareness and enlightenment efforts, including proactively disseminating information to the public about all aspects and stages of the Beneficial Ownership Register initiative.
- That the relevant authorities and the OGP Secretariat should urgently put in place concrete plans to build the capacity of various stakeholder groups, including relevant government, regulatory and anti-corruption agencies as well as civil society and the media to use the Register in the course of their work.
- That CAC should consider constituting a group of experts with diverse relevant competencies, drawn from different sectors to assist it in the establishment of the Register, and should hold regular public consultations to solicit and receive comments, inputs and feedback from the wider public.
- That the CAC should ensure that any unique identifiers system installed for the Register is interoperable with those of other agencies with similar online platforms.
Participants commended the organizers for the sensitization and consultation and urged that the process be continued to enable more members of the public to participate. They also called on the OGP Nigeria Secretariat to establish mechanisms for keeping the public better informed about the OGP and its activities in Nigeria.
- Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
- Media Rights Agenda (MRA)
- Open Government Partnership Secretariat
- African Centre for Leadership and Strategic Development