The $140 billion lost by Nigeria to illicit financial flows has been linked to lack of integrity and transparency among business organisations and government institutions.
Nigeria has lost more to illicit financial flows particularly between 2002 and 2011 than any other African country. It is listed as one of the top 10 globally in this ranking.
“Some people estimate that we need about $50 billion to ensure stable electricity, yet within nine-year period we lost $140 billion to illicit financial flows”, said Arunma Oteh, director general, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Oteh, who spoke at the 2nd annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on business integrity in Lagos, regretted that these illicit flows not only deprive the country of desperately debt capital but also being used to finance terrorism abroad and within Nigeria.
“Many companies have paid dearly for negating integrity and for not paying attention to it”. Using Halliburton as one of the examples of companies that have suffered losses due to lack of integrity, she said the company has suffered bans from government countries following various bribery scandals.
According to her, Nigeria ranked 132 out of 144 countries on a recently conducted study on ethical behaviours of firms. Meanwhile, South Africa ranked 35, China 55, India 58, while Brazil ranked 107.
She said Nigeria only performed better than two countries, Venezuela and Argentina, in diversion of public fund while the recently World Economic Forum (WEF) global competitiveness result for 2014/2015 period ranked Nigeria 127 out 147 countries.
SEC DG was concerned that with above result there is urgent need to focus on integrity while doing business in Nigeria.