THE Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has described Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) as one of the main issues threatening Nigeria’s economic growth.
The Chairman of the ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye, said this in Abuja on Thursday, August 17, during 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.
Owasanoye stated that IFFs are draining Nigeria’s potential revenue and foreign exchange reserves.
According to him, this has resulted in exchange rate depreciation, inflation and an upsurge in the cost of servicing external debts, in addition to negatively impacting the cost of imported goods like petroleum with its attendant extreme effects on the daily livelihood experience of ordinary citizens.
On the way out of the IFFs trap, Owasanoye called for multifarious measures to tackle the threat in all its forms and to improve Nigeria’s quest for domestic revenue increase relative to the size of her economy.
He assured that the Commission would continue focusing on practical measures to enhance Nigeria’s ability to stem IFFs, reduce capital flight and improve the country’s capacity for domestic resource mobilisation.
He added that the ICPC would achieve that by identifying vulnerabilities and other weaknesses in the systems and processes of agencies and institutions within the public and private sectors and advising reforms to mitigate losses.
Owasanoye explained that the sensitisation workshop was necessitated by the need to get the feedback of the private sector constituency on any possible challenges towards implementing the recommendations in the guidelines.
He added that a similar platform would be created for public officers and other stakeholders to ventilate the Guidelines for Negotiation of Contracts and Agreements.
Also speaking at the event, the Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, Zacch Adedeji, who was the keynote Speaker, said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will ensure that every kobo of the nation’s revenue counts.
Adedeji said President Tinubu believes in fiscal discipline and would ensure judicious utilisation of the country’s revenue and resources.
“The President believes in fiscal discipline, which rests on accurate revenue prediction. If the government can’t count your money, the government can’t allocate it, and if the government can’t allocate it, it can’t manage it. The administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will make every kobo of our revenue count.
“In Nigeria and across the African continent, we continue to suffer various forms of IFFs, including tax evasion and other harmful tax practices, the illegal export of foreign exchange, abusive transfer pricing, trade mispricing, mis-invoicing of services, illegal exploitation and under-invoicing of natural resources, organised crimes, and corruption,” Adedeji said.
He added that checking illicit financial flows would address its negative impact on the global development agenda and governance challenges.
He commended the Chairman of the ICPC, Owasanoye, for the successes recorded by the anti-corruption agency in the fight against IFFs.
Adedeji said ICPC efforts have yielded excellent results and benefits through robust engagements and plugged leakages that enable IFFs by the relevant circulars issued by the Federal Government.
He advised the private sector stakeholders and operators at the sensitisation workshop to key into the government’s efforts to tackle IFFs.
In her welcome remarks, The Programme Director (Africa) of the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Lola Adekanye, gave an overview of the published guidelines.
The sensitisation workshop was attended by stakeholders and operators in the private sector across the nation.
The “Guidelines for Private Sector Response to IFF Vulnerabilities in Nigeria” is published by the ICPC.
The guideline seeks to enable private sector practitioners to better understand the phenomenon of IFFs and guide them on what to look out for and avoid during their business transactions.