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ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS: Senate summons Finance Minister, CBN Governor, others



PIB passes first reading in Senate

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele, has been summoned by the Senate to brief the its Committee on Finance, on existing loss of government revenue to illicit financial flows.

They will also “present reports on the measures being sought to curb revenue losses, particularly the coordinated implementation of the automatic exchange of information standard, in order to prevent further revenue leakages and curb tax evasion and money laundering activities. ”

Also invited were heads of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

The heads of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU); the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM); Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and any other relevant authorities.

This followed a motion sponsored by Gershom Bassey, a senator representing Cross River South Senatorial District on “the need to review the domestic legal framework against illicit Financial Flows and to consider the creation of a Tax Amnesty for the voluntary repatriation of funds to Nigeria.”

Read also: Africa loses $80bn annually to illicit financial flows – Mbeki

Mr Bassey noted that Nigeria lost a minimum of $140 billion to illicit financial flows between 2000 and 2014, mainly to crude oil and commercial activities mis-pricing.

“Nigeria loses approximately $15 billion annually to offshore tax evasion. This has resulted in a consistently low tax revenue as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as low as 5.7 percent in 2017. Such statistics are alarming, especially when compared to the 17.2 percent average of 26 African countries in the same year.

“This incessant financial drain on the Nigerian economy continues to have negative implications for domestic resource mobilization and long-term economic growth and development,” Mr Bassey said.

The Senate resolved that the committee should come up with a holistic legislative framework on how to repatriate lost revenue “due to IFFs, mitigate future unbated illicit financial flows and and provide an efficient strategy for the re-investment of these repatriated resources into the Nigerian economy.”

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