Senate Moves To Tackle Money Laundering, Tax Evasion

The Senate on Wednesday moved to deal with Nigeria’s income loss owing to cash laundering, tax evasion by worldwide oil firms working within the nation (IOCs), and different felony actions involving illicit monetary flows. 

The resolution to take action was reached in resolutions that had been reached sequel to the consideration of movement 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.”

The higher chamber, accordingly, resolved to ask the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the 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) to temporary the Senate committees on finance, anti-corruption and monetary crimes; banking, insurance coverage and different monetary establishments on measures being sought to curb income loss, tax evasion and cash laundering actions. 

Also to be invited are the heads of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) amongst different related establishments. 

The higher chamber referred to as for an appraisal of the Federal Inland Revenue Service’s (FIRS) present framework for tracing, figuring out, stopping and sanctioning cross-border tax evasion and different illicit monetary outflows.

The Senate additionally mandated the committee to provide you with a holistic legislative framework on methods to repatriate misplaced income as a result of illicit monetary flows, mitigate future unabated flows and supply an environment friendly technique for the reinvestment of repatriated sources into the Nigerian economic system. 

Sponsor of the movement, Senator Gershom Bassey (PDP – Cross River South), in his presentation, whereas citing a 2014 Global Financial Integrity Report, stated, “Nigeria misplaced a minimal of US$140 billion to illicit monetary flows between 2000 and 2014, primarily to crude oil and industrial actions mis-pricing.

“This economic loss to the country was not abated, as Nigeria was ranked among the global top 30 countries of illicit financial outflows by dollar value, with US$8.3 billion in an illicit outflow from Nigeria in 2015.”

Bassey expressed fear with extra findings by the Tax Justice Network and International Monetary Fund, “that developing countries, including Nigeria, have lost over US$200 billion per year to illicit financial flows as multinational corporations neglect, fail and/or refuse to pay taxes in these countries where they generate substantial amounts of profit.”

Bassey added, “Nigeria loses roughly $15billion yearly to offshore tax evasion. This has resulted in persistently low tax income as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as little as 5.7 per cent in 2017. Such statistics are alarming, particularly when in comparison with the 17.2 p.c common of 26 African international locations in the identical 12 months.

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

“IFFs proceed to pose severe obstacles to growth, as roughly 5 per cent of the IFFs from Africa might be attributed to corruption.

“These unrecorded and untaxed cross-border transfers could have been mobilized as part of government revenue and injected into Nigeria’s formal economy towards sustained development and economic growth.”

Bassey expressed concern that “statistics show that the amount of revenue lost annually by Nigeria was more than the sums provided as development aid.”

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