Nigeria lost $157.5 billion to illicit financial flows in 9 years – an amount capable of funding the country's budgets for the period

President Buhari speaking at the high-level event on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) held on the sidelines of the ongoing 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York.  [NAN]
  • Stolen assets, tax avoidance form illicit financial inflows in Nigeria.
  • Nigeria has lost $157.5 billion to illicit financial inflows between 2003 to 2012.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari at the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York, calls on other African leaders to seek pragmatic ideas on how to strengthen anti-corruption institutions to reduce or effectively eliminate Illicit Financial Flows.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that the country lost an estimated $157.5 billion to illicit financial flows between 2003 and 2012, quoting figures from the 2014 Global Financial Integrity Report.

He stated this in 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, September 26th, in New York, on the margins of the 74th United Nations General Assembly.

At the event, “Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Recovery and Return to Foster Sustainable Development,” President Buhari noted that such massive loss of assets, resulted in the dearth of resources to fund public services or to alleviate poverty,” in the country.

“This is why, as Africans, we have no choice but to break the back of corruption.

"... 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.

The Nigerian leader cited tax avoidance as another form of illicit financial flows. He quoted the Tax Justice Network and the International Monetary Fund “to have estimated over $200 billion per year as being lost by developing countries when multinational enterprises do not pay taxes in the countries where they made a profit.”

President Buhari expects other African leaders to seek pragmatic ideas on how to strengthen anti-corruption institutions to reduce or effectively eliminate Illicit Financial Flows.

Illicit financial flows cost African countries at least $50 billion annually

According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Illicit financial flows cost African countries at least $50 billion every year. The sum is more than the sum of developmental aid to the continent.

The $157.5 billion lost to illegal financial activities in 9 years can fund the country's budget for the period. African leaders and other stakeholders must wake up to responsibilities to reduce if not eradicate loopholes in the continent's financial system.

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