Nigeria Loses $157bn to Illicit Financial Flows in Nine Years

September 26, 2019
buhari at UNGA 73

By Adedapo Adesanya

President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that Nigeria lost over $157 billion to illicit financial flows in nine years between 2003 and 2012.

Mr Buhari made this disclosure during his address to the High-Level National Side-Event organised by the African Union Development Agency and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday.

This came on the back of the 74th United Nations General Assembly, themed Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Recovery and Return to Foster Sustainable Development in New York.

The Nigerian president, quoting from the 2014 Global Financial Integrity Report, noted that the massive loss of assets resulted in dearth of resources to fund public services or to alleviate poverty in the country.

President Buhari, who in the 2015 presidential elections promised to focus on fighting corruption, reiterated his commitment to fighting corrupt practices, saying “This is why, as Africans, we have no choice but to break the back of corruption.”

Acknowledging lack of sufficient capital and corruption as impediments to socio-economic development of the continent, Mr Buhari said, “That is why our government has made it a war we intend to win. We will give all it takes to ensure there is no hiding place for purveyors of corrupt practices who are truly enemies of the people.”

Mr Buhari stressed that his administration had made significant progress to cub corruption and stressed the need to strengthen good practices on asset recovery and return, adding that Nigeria has recovered millions of dollars stolen from her shores.

However, he explained: “there are still a lot of other funds that are stuck in foreign bank accounts due to international laws, different jurisdictions and justice systems that make it difficult for repatriation.”

President Buhari lamented that these illicit financial flows do not only reduce Africa’s internally generated revenues but affects foreign exchange earnings, reduces tax revenues, drains natural resources, facilitates corruption and also hinders the growth of the private sector.

President Buhari also said tax avoidance was a major and stated that over $200 billion per year was lost by developing countries as a result of multinational enterprises defaulting on their taxes.

He said, “This amount is significantly higher than the annual development aid received by these countries which are estimated to be about US$143 billion.”

President Buhari, calling for cohesion on tackling illicit financial flows, said: “Any lasting solution to the above challenges will require international cooperation and coordination,” of African countries and their international counterparts.

“This is one reason why the Nigerian Government supports this initiative of AUDA/NEPAD and remains committed until we ensure that there are no safe-havens for stolen assets from Africa,” he declared.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

Leave a Reply

senate screens emefiele
Previous Story

I Don’t Foresee Cut in Interest Rates Soon—Emefiele
Next Story

Bulgarian Economist Kristalina Georgieva Becomes New IMF Chief

Latest from General