Nigeria accounts for about 20 percent (about $10 billion) of the total estimated $50billion Africa loses to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said.
ICPC spokesperson Azuka Ogugua quoted the ICPC Chairman, Bolaji Owasanoye, as disclosing this during a virtual meeting to review a report on IFFs in relation to tax in Abuja on Friday.
“The African Union Illicit Financial Flow Report estimated that Africa is losing nearly 50 billion dollars through profit shifting by multinational corporations and about 20 per cent of this figure is from Nigeria alone,” the ICPC Chairman said.
The Chairman who acknowledged taxes that played a “very strategic role in the nation’s political economy” said there was need to ensure improved awareness on IFFs, especially in the areas of taxation, which he said was the objective of the meeting.
The ICPC boss said the meeting would give participants the opportunity to openly discuss how to effectively use the instrumentality of taxation to curb IFFs through a risk-based approach.
“Risk-based approach is monitoring and audit; due process in tax collection; structured tax amnesty framework skewed in the public interest; data privacy; timely resolution of audits and payment of tax refunds and intelligence sharing among revenue-generating, regulatory and law enforcement agencies,” he said.
Also Owasanoye said for the contemporary tax man to remain relevant, he must build his capacity in the areas of technology management as solution architects and an astute relationship manager.
The Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, expressed concerns that IFFs posed a serious threat to the Nigerian economy as the illegal act robbed the nation of resources needed for national development.
Tackling IFFs, Nami said, would expand the country’s tax base and improve the generation of revenue required for development.
The FIRS boss pushed for policy reforms that would make it difficult for “capital flights” to occur, so that the country would be placed on the path of sustainable growth.
Others who spoke at the event also identified weak regulatory framework, the opacity of financial system as well as lack of capacity among the operators as some of the factors that fueled IFFs.
While commending ICPC for leveraging its corruption prevention mandate to open a new vista in IFFs discourse in Nigeria, the discussants emphasized the need for capacity building for the relevant stakeholders as one of the ways to stamp out illicit financial flows in the system in the continent.