Nigeria lost over $157billion between 2003 and 2012 through illicit financial flows

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari in an address to High-Level National Side-Event organised by the African Union Development Agency and New Partnership for Africa’s Development, revealed that over $157billion was lost between 2003 and 2012 through illicit financial flows from Nigeria.

The event themed; “Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Recovery and Return to Foster Sustainable Development” was organised in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in New York at the ongoing 74th United Nations General Assembly.

He noted that illicit financial flows have depleted Africa’s internally generated revenues, tax revenues and foreign exchange earnings.

Buhari noted that “this is why, as Africans, we have no choice but to break the back of corruption.”

President Buhari in the event which was also attended by the Presidents of Zambia and Ethiopia noted that the lack of capital and corruption was the major problem to socio-economic development of Africa.

“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.”

 “In the last five years, our government has made significant progress to curb corruption.”

“We have recovered millions of dollars stolen from our country.

“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,” he added

Speaking further, Buhari noted that tax avoidance was another form of illicit financial flow. He quoted the Tax Justice Network and the International Monetary Fund to have estimated over $200billion per year “being lost by developing countries when multinational enterprises do not pay taxes in the countries where they made the profit.”

Buhari noted that $200billion is higher than the $143billion annual development aid received by African countries.

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