Public funds are looted in Africa on daily basis, fraudulent activities such as bribery and corruption, terrorism, affray and arson, all over the world.
Criminals camouflaged as politicians and political-economy looters are deemed criminal and illicit globally because when public money are looted, children die for lack of portable drinking water, poor education, good medical facilities and treatment, infrastructural decay, institutional bribery and corruption, insecurity of lives and property.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had employs and engaged an international investigation agency in a bid oriented towards tracing all the illegal and illicit funds emanating from Nigeria to different countries of the world.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Friday in a special address at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)-Bloomberg CEO Roundtable in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Minister of Finance categorically adumbrated as follows while delivery her keynote address to the participants as follows
The minister said the illicit flow of funds out of Nigeria was harming the country, stating vehemently “It deprives us of essential funds and those same funds are then used to finance developments in other nations. This must stop.”
“Those who have more must carry their fair share of the tax burden, and so to this end, for the last 15 months, we have engaged in a huge data-gathering exercise. We have engaged one of the world’s leading global investigating agencies and we have traced funds originating from Nigeria to all parts of the world.”
“We have just 40 million active taxpayers out of an estimated 69.9 million, who are economically active in Nigeria. And of that 40 million, the majorities are PAYE (Pay As You Earn), that is, those who have their tax deducted at source.
“Among those who are even paying taxes, there is widespread malpractice that results in only part of the actual income being subjected to tax.”
“These practices harm Nigerians and must stop,” said the minister, who described the nation’s tax to Gross Domestic Product ratio of six per cent as one of the lowest levels in the world.
“We have a lot of work to do if we are going to build a sustainable revenue base that will deliver the growth we desire. Even within our tax-paying community, only 214 people in the entire nation pay taxes of N120m in spite of having some of the richest people in Africa and some of the best capitalised companies in Africa; only 214 in the entire country, all of who are in Lagos State.”
“And to do so, we will have step on some big toes, and we will need to step on them hard. But we really have no choice.
“However, in the short term, we will all have to bear the discomfort of an imbalance between our debt service and our revenue as we exit the recession and return to growth”.
“I am sure you are aware of the controversies about the amount of money that we are using to service our debts at the moment. The solution is revenue; if we have more revenue, we will borrow less.
“If we have more revenue, our debt service to revenue ratio will improve. So, the solution to the problem is not to reduce our debts. At this point in time, we have no choice; we must borrow to fund our infrastructure. The solution to the problem is to increase our revenue and that we are doing.”
“So it is critical that we will engage with the private sector and to this end, we intend to revive public-private partnership in Nigeria.”
At the gathering of the CEO, the keynote boarders on the needs for the Nigeria government to trace all the illicit money looted and hidden in different country of the world back to the country for the Nigeria nation to retain its economic and socio-political rapid development in Africa and the world.
Nigeria is the most populous black nation on earth with high natural and human resources, contributing great to Africa progress and contributing positively to the global market.