ICPC Chairman Highlights Illicit Financial Flows’ Toll on Nigeria’s Economy

Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), has drawn attention to the detrimental impact of Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) on Nigeria’s foreign reserves and revenue. Speaking during a hybrid sensitization workshop held in Abuja, Owasanoye emphasized that these illicit financial flows have led to significant consequences such as exchange rate depreciation, inflation, and elevated costs in servicing external debts.

The workshop, titled “Guidelines for Private Sector Response to Illicit Financial Flow (IFF) Vulnerabilities in Nigeria,” was organized by the ICPC. Owasanoye stressed the negative ripple effects of IFFs, which extend to the cost of imported goods, particularly petroleum, and the subsequent impact on the daily lives of ordinary citizens.

In light of these challenges, Owasanoye called for a multifaceted approach to address IFFs and bolster Nigeria’s domestic revenue generation in proportion to its economy’s size. He assured attendees that the ICPC remains dedicated to implementing practical strategies to curb IFFs and limit capital flight. This involves identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in both public and private sector systems, while offering advice on necessary reforms to minimize losses.

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The workshop was designed to gather input from the private sector on potential challenges in implementing the guidelines, and a similar platform is planned for public officials and other stakeholders to discuss the “Guidelines for Negotiation of Contracts and Agreements.”

Mr. Zacch Adedeji, the Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, underscored the government’s commitment to combating illicit financial flows. He highlighted the negative impact of IFFs on domestic revenues and their potential to destabilize Nigeria’s economic stability and sustainable development.

Adedeji expressed concern over various forms of IFFs, including tax evasion, harmful tax practices, illegal export of foreign exchange, abusive transfer pricing, trade mis-pricing, and more. He emphasized that curbing IFFs would not only mitigate their adverse impact on the global development agenda but also address governance challenges.

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During the workshop, Mrs. Lola Adekanye, Programme Director (Africa) of the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), provided an overview of the published guidelines. Mrs. Ayotola Jagun, Chief Compliance Officer and Company Secretary of Oando Plc, outlined the private sector’s response to the guidelines, underscoring the importance of collaborative efforts in combating IFFs.

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