In his address to the High-Level National Side-Event organized 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 in New York, on the margins of the 74th United Nations General Assembly. The president stated that Nigeria lost an estimated US $157.5 billion to illicit financial flows within 2003-2012.
The theme of the event was titled “Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Recovery and Return to Foster Sustainable Development”.
In a statement, which was released by the Special Adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, which was issued early hours of Thursday, stated “This is why, as Africans, we have no choice but to break the back of corruption”. He also made known the lack of sufficient capital and corruption as impediments to socio-economic development of the continent, also adding that the President reinstated his administration’s anti-corruption campaign. He 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.”
The president still during his address said that, “In the last five years, our government has made significant progress to curb corruption,” adding: “We have recovered millions of dollars stolen from our country.” But he also noted that 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.
The president also said, “illegal movement of funds from one country to another, These flows deplete Africa’s internally generated revenues, foreign exchange earnings, reduce tax revenues, drain natural resources, facilitate corruption and stunt private sector development.”
The president also talked about tax avoidance which is another form of illicit financial flow, he stated that the Tax Justice Network and International Monetary Fund estimated over US$200 billion per year as being lost by developing countries when multinational companies do not pay their taxes in the countries where they made the profit. “This amount is significantly higher than the annual development aid received by these countries which are estimated to be about US$143 billion,”
The president then commended the organizers of the meeting for their shared commitment to root out corruption from our continent. “I am motivated by the belief that, if we join hands, we can bequeath to our children an Africa that is not defined by corruption.” He 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,”
The president added, “I have high expectations for this meeting. At the end of the deliberations, I expect other African leaders, to see the pragmatic ideas on how to strengthen our anti-corruption institutions to reduce or effectively eliminate Illicit Financial Flows,”
“We need ideas on how to return the stolen assets to their countries of origin. We also need strategies on how to plug the loopholes that enable companies to avoid paying commensurate taxes in their countries of operations. You should deliberate on practical ideas to enhance global acceptable assets tracing and freezing, and boost the recovery governance framework.”