President Muhammed Buhari has revealed that Nigeria lost 157.5 billion dollars to illicit financial flows between 2003 and 2012.
He made this declaration during a side event organised by the African Union Development Agency and New Partnership for Africa’s Development at the 74th United Nations General Assembly.
The Details: Buhari, who quoted a 2014 Global Financial Integrity Report, said the money could have been used 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,” he said.
President Buhari stressed the need to improve the recovery of assets. He also emphasised the need to fight corruption and ensure that the war is won at all costs.
“In the last five years, our government has made significant progress to curb corruption. We have recovered millions of dollars stolen from our country. 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. That is why our government has made it a war we intend to win,” he stated.
The president explained that the illicit financial flows affected the economy, reduced tax revenues, drained natural resources, and stunted private sector development.
He also made mention of other funds of the country that are stuck in bank accounts abroad due to international laws, different jurisdictions and justice systems that make it difficult for repatriation.
He highlighted the issue of tax avoidance as another form of illicit flow. This is a case of some multinational enterprises refusing to pay taxes in developing countries where they make profit. This, according to the Tax Justice and the International Monetary Fund Network is how developing nations lose $200 billion every year. Ironically, the amount is higher than the $143 billion dollars developing nations receive in annual development aids.
What you should know: Illicit financial flow is “illegal movement of funds from one country to another.”