Nigeria Loses N61.1 Trillion to Illicit Financing, Urged to Seal Loopholes

Sokoto — Nigeria is said to have lost $157.5 billion (about N61.110 trillion) to illicit financing in the last 10 years, as an expert advised the country and other African countries to seal the loopholes.

The Executive Director, Tax Justice Network Africa Alvin Mosioma, who gave the advice, said sealing the loopholes for financial outflow was imperative for African countries to grow economically and mobilise adequate funds for their development.

President Muhammed Buhari had last September, at the 74th United Nations General Assembly, at a side event organised by the African Union Development Agency and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) disclosed that Nigeria had lost about $157.5 billion to this crime between 2003 and 2012.

In addition, the civil activist harped on the need for creative and innovative ways of raising additional revenue to finance development agenda.

Mosioma who stated this in an opening remark at the on-going 7th international Tax Justice Academy, added: "We need to ensure that the way that money is being raised is fair and equitable."

In her paper on Financial Secrecy, Researcher Anglo African Hub Tax Justice Network, Rachel Etter-Phoya, said: "Most African countries achieved independence well over 50 years ago, yet the global financial and tax systems are rigged against their interests.

In her discourse, a senior lawyer, and lecturer, University of Nairobi, Layla Lateef examined the effectiveness of wealth and property taxation for the African economy, especially in light of the need for injecting much-needed finance into the economies of almost all states following COVID-19 disruptions.

"Domestic resource mobilisation is a core priority for the continent. We don't want to keep relying on debt. We have to look at the revenues available locally in our jurisdictions so that we can mobilise them and match them to our spending needs," she stated.

While noting the property tax as the mainstay of local taxes in many developed and industrialised countries, she observed that it was only beginning to gain a foothold in Africa.

Lateef listed the challenges and prospects of property tax in Africa as including its unique land tenure system, informal sector, agriculture-based economy and its rural-based population.

On the way forward, the university don explained that "part of the broader discourse on Domestic Resource Mobilisation (DRM) is to focus on property and wealth taxation as part of a state revenue-generating ability."

Also speaking, Henrique Alencar who works at Oxfam Novib as part of a global team on tax justice pointed out that Illicit financial flows take out Africa more than what comes in either through aid or debt.

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