President Muhammadu Buhari has said the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 recently signed into law would enhance transparency and corporate accountability and help the fight against corruption.
In a statement issued on Thursday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina disclosed that President Buhari was addressing a high-level summit of the United Nations General Assembly.
Adesina said his principal spoke in a video message presented at the Open Government Partnership 2020 Virtual Leaders’ Summit on the sidelines of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States.
“Since the inception of our administration in 2015, the government has been committed to changing international and domestic perceptions regarding Nigeria’s commitment to fight corruption and foster good governance,” President Buhari said.
“We focused on the task of dealing head-on with this destructive monster, which led to us joining the Open Government Partnership and making reform commitments such as to establish a public central register of beneficial owners of corporate entities.
“Since then, we have made significant progress in implementing tougher anti-corruption measures, including my recent assent to the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020.
“The Act provides a legal framework for the implementation of Beneficial Ownership Information Disclosure in Nigeria.
”Being an OGP member-country has helped Nigeria learn from other countries tackling similar challenges, and to build a coalition to support these reforms across the private sector and civil society. It has also aided our journey towards building citizens’ trust in government.”
Speaking on the COVID-19 pandemic, the President said that governments cannot solve all the challenges of the pandemic alone.
He explained that it is only through open governance and working with citizens that nations can succeed.
“We face a significant contraction in the global economy in 2020; the world is facing the unprecedented twin challenges of managing the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.”
“In these times, citizens worldwide are seeking more information, engagement, and support from their governments,” President Buhari added.
Buhari’s remarks come seven weeks after he signed the CAMA Act, a development which has sparked debates among religious leaders.
CAN, the umbrella body of Christians had “outrightly” rejected the Act, describing it as “unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible, and an ill-wind that blows no one any good. It is a time bomb waiting to explode.”
A statement by CAN said while the body is not against the government’s resolve to fight corruption, “the Church cannot be controlled by the government because of its spiritual responsibilities and obligations.”
While speaking during the recently-concluded conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Vice President Osinbajo gave an insight into why CAMA has raised eyebrows among Christians.
“As a general position, I do not think it will be right to say that pastors don’t want to be accountable,” he said.
“I believe that several Christian organizations and pastors are willing to be accountable. The problem that they may have is ensuring that processes are not abused in such a way as to compromise the entire organization.
“And I think that if all that is required is some process of accountability, I think it will be easier for organizations to accept that.”