4 October 2018

Africa's Loss Through Illicit Financial Flows Rises to $80bn Annually - Thabo Mbeki

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(File photo).

Africa's annual loss through illicit financial flows (IFFs) has increased from $50 billion in 2015 to over $80 billion, former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, has said.

At the presentation of the report of the Africa Union high level panel on IFFs in 2015, Mr Mbeki, who is also its chairman said the continent was then losing $50 billion.

But, at the speaking in Abuja on Thursday at the Africa Union high level panel on IFFs inter-ministerial meeting, Mr Mbeki said the loss has increased to about $80 billion today.

He expressed concern at the growing level of losses, saying it poses a huge challenge to African governments' ability to work towards curbing the flow or retain the money in the continent for its development.

The two-day meeting holding in Abuja is to allow AU member countries review the progress recorded on efforts to curb the menace and compare notes.

Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler, who spoke at the event on the effort by the agency to tackle the problem said at least 40 per cent of the total IFFs in Africa come from Nigeria.

Mr Fowler identified three sectors of the economy with the highest prevalence of IFFs in Nigeria, namely multi-national corporations, oil & gas, banking and financial services.

He noted that IFFs were not only when monies were repatriated abroad, but also when companies and individual fail to pay tax to the government.

Besides, the FIRS boss said IFFs is also about some multi-national companies and individuals who repatriate finances from one country and keep it in another country in Africa without taking it abroad.

Such practices, he said, always deny the country from where the money was taken resources required to carry out development projects.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said Nigeria has gone far in implementing strategies to curb corruption and reduce IFFs in the country.

He described the country's approach as multi-dimensional. Mr Malami also identified such strategies as strengthening of institutions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Other strategies, he added, include legislation through the National Assembly; policy decisions, like the whistle-blowing policy; use of technology in computation and payment of salaries; as well as banking transactions, like the bank verification number (BVN) by banks, and the promotion of transparency and accountability

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