A Washington-based research and advocacy organisation – Global Financial Integrity in its newly published report, has said out of the 20 biggest exporters of illicit financial flows for decades, Nigeria sits in the 7th position with $19.66bn (N3.047tn).
Not unsurprising to say the least, the report said Nigeria, termed the 7th biggest money laundering country in the world, exported N3tn by leaders who had access to the nation’s money between 2000 and 2010.
Co-authored by GFI’s Lead Economist, Dev Kar, and GFI’s Economist, Sarah Freitas, the report is the first by the organisation in incorporating a new, more conservative estimate of illicit financial flows.
It facilitates comparisons with previous estimates from GFI updates and identifies crime, corruption and tax evasion as biggest channels with nearly $6tn stolen from poor countries
Ahead of Nigeria on the list of countries who are biggest exporters of illicit financial flows are China – sitting at the top with $274bn average ($2.74tn cumulative); followed by Mexico with $47.6bn average ($476bn cumulative); Malaysia, $28.5bn average ($285bn cumulative); Saudi Arabia, $21.0bn average ($210bn cumulative); Russia, $15.2bn average ($152bn cumulative); and Philippines, $13.8bn average ($138bn cumulative).
The report decried the flow of “astronomical sums of dirty money” from developing countries “into offshore tax havens and developed country banks.”
The report further stated that “it is clear that developing economies are haemorrhaging more and more money at a time when rich and poor nations alike are struggling to spur economic growth.
“This report should be a wake-up call to world leaders that more must be done to address these harmful outflows. The estimates provided by either methodology are still likely to be extremely conservative as they do not include trade mispricing in services, same-invoice trade mispricing, secret transactions, and dealings conducted in bulk cash. This means that much of the proceeds of drug trafficking, human smuggling, and other criminal activities, which are often settled in cash, are not included in these estimates,” it said.
Adding that the sum of illicit outflows in the year 2010 was much higher than in 2009 which saw developing countries lose $776.0bn under the new methodology, the report said:
“This has very big consequences for developing economies. Poor countries lost nearly a trillion dollars that could have been used to invest in healthcare, education, and infrastructure. It’s nearly a trillion dollars that could have been used to pull people out of poverty and save lives.”