The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, says Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) are draining the country’s foreign reserves and revenue.
Owasanoye said this on Thursday at a one-day hybrid sensitisation workshop on the published “Guidelines for Private Sector Response to Illicit Financial Flow (IFF) Vulnerabilities in Nigeria” organised by the Commission in Abuja.
According to him, the illicit financial flows have resulted in exchange rate depreciation, inflation and increase in cost of servicing external debts.
“It is negatively impacting the cost of imported goods like petroleum, with its attendant radical consequences on the daily livelihood experience of ordinary citizens,” he said.
Owasanoye, therefore called for diverse measures to tackle the menace in all its forms, to improve Nigeria’s quest for domestic revenue increase, relative to the size of its economy.
He gave assurance that the Commission would continue to focus on practical measures to enhance Nigeria’s ability to stem IFFs and reduce capital flight.
According to him, it will also enhance the country’s capacity for domestic resource mobilisation by identifying vulnerabilities and other weaknesses in the systems and processes of agencies as well as institutions within the public and private sector.
He said it would also help in advising reforms, to mitigate losses.
Owasanoye said that the workshop was necessitated by the need to get the feedback of the private sector constituency on any possible challenges towards implementation of the recommendations in the guidelines.
He added that a similar platform would be created for public officers and other stakeholders to discuss the Guidelines for Negotiation of Contracts and Agreements.
The Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, Mr Zacch Adedeji, in his remarks said that the government would strengthen the country’s fight against illicit financial flows.
Adedeji noted with concern that IFFs had significantly eroded domestic revenues and hampered government’s efforts to mobilise resources.
This, he said was threatening the economic stability and sustainable development of the country.
“In Nigeria and across the African continent, we continue to suffer various forms of IFFs, including tax evasion and other harmful tax practices including the illegal export of foreign exchange and abusive transfer pricing.
“Others are trade mis-pricing, mis-invoicing of services, illegal exploitation and under-invoicing of natural resources, organised crimes, and corruption,” he added.
He emphasised that stemming illicit financial flows would address its negative impact on global development agenda as well as governance challenge.
Mrs Lola Adekanye, Programme Director (Africa), Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), gave an overview of the published guidelines, while Mrs Ayotola Jagun, Chief Compliance Officer and Company Secretary, Oando Plc, outlined the private sector response to the guidelines.