Nigeria is the number one country in Africa with the highest outflow of stolen money. This revelation was made by Dr. Ousmane Dore, country director, African Development Bank (AfDB) when he spoke at the Centre for Democracy and Development’s Multi-Stakeholders meeting on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) in Abuja. According to him, Nigeria has lost about $83.3 billion to illicit financial outflow between 1960 and 2011.
The AfDB chief added that the recent Global Financial Integrity Report also ranked Nigeria seventh among top 10 highest illicit capital outflows in the developing world and first in Africa.
Dore said: “Between 1960 and 2011, Nigeria experienced cumulative illicit financial out flows totaling $83.3 billion or 5.6 per cent of a total goods trade through trade through mis-invoicing only. Export under-invoicing takes the larger share of $44 billion while the balance of 39.3billion was due to import over invoicing.
“In the literature, exchange control has been identified as a basic driver of trade and mis-invoicing in developing countries, especially Nigeria, because they tend to create black markets in foreign exchange where foreign currencies can be bought and sold at a premium over official rates.
“For many in Africa, this has been a reality for decades. Depots, corrupt government officials and corrupt heads of state move billions of dollars from government coffers into lucrative, opaque bank. Others are illegal activities such as bribery, drug trafficking and similar illegal activities.”
Similarly, Idayat Hassan, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), who blamed this loss of revenue on weak institutions and lack of transparency said the volume of illicit fund flow was enough to meet Nigeria’s development needs and could have provided about 870,000 school, 400,000 hospitals among others.“What has become obvious is that we have to redirect our efforts to fighting IFFS in Nigeria….for every $1 of foreign borrowing, on the average, more than $0.50 leaves the borrower country in the same year,” she added.
By Dike Onwuamaeze