International Conference on Beneficial Ownership, 23-24 October, 2017, Jakarta, Indonesia

International Conference on Beneficial Ownership, 23-24 October, 2017, Jakarta, Indonesia

The EITI International Secretariat in partnership with the Government of Indonesia organized the International Beneficial Ownership Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 23-24 October 2017, as a global effort in the fight against tax evasion and corruption. The conference was attended by representatives from 52 countries, who discussed the necessary steps that they plan to take to achieve Beneficial Ownership transparency of oil, gas and mining companies that operate in their countries. In the workshops held in this context were present over one hundred lecturers and 300 experts from more than fifty countries.

Albania was represented at this conference by a delegation from the EITI National Secretariat and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. In addition to participating in plenary sessions, the representatives of the Albanian delegation held multilateral meetings, where they discussed Albania’s experience and progress in implementing the EITI Standard.

The EITI Chair, Frederik Reinfeldt, said in his speech that EITI has turned into an initiative that promotes transparency on Beneficial Ownership. He added that in many resource-rich countries, the identity of the real owners – beneficial owners – of companies that have obtained rights to extract oil, gas and mineral is often unknown. By 2020, all EITI countries have to ensure that companies that apply for or hold an oil, gas or mining license in their country disclose the name, nationality and residence of Real Owners and politically exposed persons. He noted that this is an ambitious goal and that the conference is an opportunity to exchange information and best practices on how to achieve it.

The minister of National Planning and Development of Indonesia, Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro greeted the participants at the conference and underlined the fact that Panama Papers had raised public awareness as they involved a significant number of people from Indonesia.

At the conference, awards were given to four countries that had made steady progress in addressing Beneficial Ownership disclosure.

The Republic of Kyrgyzstan received the first award, following the approval of recent amendments to the laws on Beneficial Ownership disclosure. The EITI chair praised Ghana for amending its Company Act to establish a Beneficial Ownership Register that covers all sectors. Ukraine was also honoured for establishing the first beneficial ownership register and asset register for government officials. United Kingdom was also honoured for establishing the world’s largest national public register of people with significant control.

The conference was organized as a series of parallel workshops, with practical focus on specific topics such as: How to define politically exposed persons and link to asset declaration; How governments and civil society can work together to improve beneficial ownership disclosure; How to build a beneficial ownership register; How to make use of and analyse beneficial ownership data; How to establish a legal and regulatory framework for beneficial ownership transparency, etc.

Jonas Moberg, Head of the EITI International Secretariat, underlined that whatever solutions are found, they should be enforceable and we need to ensure that each registers prevent, not protect corruption and the data needs to be used and useful, or all of this work will be in vain.

As part of its involvement in the global Initiative and in the context of achieving beneficial ownership disclosure by 2020, Albania published in January 2017 the Beneficial Ownership Roadmap and is in the process of drafting the law on Beneficial Ownership.