Nigeria Leads As ECOWAS Countries Lose $345bn Yearly To Illicit Financial Flows

By Ikenga Chronicles October 24, 2016

Nigeria leads the pack of ECOWAS countries that have been losing money yearly due to illegal financial transactions involving local and foreign companies, according to an international watchdog, the Global Financial Integrity (GFI),

In its latest quarterly assessment report, made available to Ikenga Chronicles the region with an estimated population of 335 million people, which is about one-third of the population of sub-Saharan Africa, yearly, suffers 78 per cent loss of its GDP, put at $345 billion, through this process.

Nigeria, said the report, suffers the biggest hit, with a loss of over $178 billion, being part of which has led to the worst economic recession in its history.

The resultant effect on the populace is poverty, underdevelopment and a rise in crime wave, it further stated.

Details of how the illicit financial flows are carried out are sketchy, going by the report, but it explained that improper record keeping, bribery and negligence of duty constitute some of the means that have sustained the loss in the past 10 years.

When compared with similar development in other parts of the world, there is yet to be any region with such disturbing high rate of illicit financial outflows to their GDP ratio.

The scenario, it was learnt has affected sustainable capital inflow into the countries surveyed, with Nigeria the worst of it as multinational companies expected to account for 60 per cent inflow are also enmeshed in criminal activities of up to 35 per cent.

GFI concludes: “Africa, in general, is a major source of leakage of much needed funds for development. With the continent losing an estimated $50 to $60 billion a year, the need to initiate a more purposeful effort at curbing the flows is more urgent than ever.

“More importantly, as the countries in the region are aiming at meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), while grappling with growing debts, many of them are party to undermining several sub-regional, continental and global conventions.”

It will be recalled that politicians are said to be involved in the complicated web of the dealings that led to the losses in tax revenues to most countries, as confirmed by the Panama Papers.

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