Lack of beneficial ownership register costs Nigeria US$17 billion a year

Nigeria is losing an estimated US$17 billion annually to illicit financial flows (IFFs) due to the federal government’s failure to honour its 2016 commitment to establish a beneficial ownership register according to Transparency International and the Civil Society Legal Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) based in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

This has prompted executive director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, to criticise Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s for his dismissal of statistics used to calculate IFFs from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other global agencies.

Presidential statement

The president had said that most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria were made up by the IMF, World Bank and others.

“Some of the statistics we get relating to Nigeria are wild estimates and bear little relevance to the facts on the ground. This is disturbing as it implies that we are not fully aware of what is happening in our own country. We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data,” Buhari said.

The president has tasked an eight-strong Presidential Economic Advisory Council, to focus on developing reliable data that, in Buhari’s view, will properly reflect what is happening in the country.

President criticised

But Rafsanjani said the president’s comments were worrisome and that the only way to deal with issues of corruption is to establish the beneficial ownership register.

“A lot of money laundering through organised crime is ongoing because we do not have the identity of the owners of these assets,” he concluded.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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