Transparency International (TI) and Civil Society Legal Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) have said that Nigeria is losing an estimated $17bn annually to illicit financial flows due to the federal government's failure to honour its commitment to the Beneficial Ownership Register (BOR) it made in London in 2016.
The Executive Director, Civil Society Legal Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)/TI Nigeria, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, who said this yesterday, also faulted President Muhammadu Buhari's position on statistics from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank among other global agencies.
He was speaking at a special session titled 'Public Registers of Beneficial Ownership: Essential or Overhyped' on the sidelines of the ongoing World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual membership meeting in Washington DC, USA.
President Buhari last week in Abuja charged an eight-man Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), chaired by Prof. Doyin Salami, to focus on developing reliable data that will properly reflect what is happening in the country.
The president had said that most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria were made up by the World Bank, IMF and other foreign bodies.
"Some of the statistics we get relating to Nigeria are wild estimates and bear little relevance to the facts on the ground. This is disturbing as it implies that we are not fully aware of what is happening in our own country. We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data," the president said.
But Rafsanjani said President Buhari's comments were worrisome and that the only way to deal with issues of corruption is to establish the BOR.
"Currently, Nigeria is losing over $17bn per annum to illicit financial flow. A lot of money laundering through organised crime is ongoing because we do not have the identity of the owners of these assets. So, both locally and internationally, Nigeria is losing to corruption huge billions of dollars annually."