Illicit capital flight is among the biggest problems facing Africa at the moment , leading to almost 4% loss of continental Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and enabling terrorist activities and insecurity across the continent.
The Chairman, Institute of Directors Center for Corporate Governance, Alhaji Shuaibu Idris, made this known at a Roundtable Discussion in Lagos with the Theme: Strengthening Anti-Money Laundering/ Countering Terrorist Financing & Curbing Illicit Financial Flows in Nigeria and the West Africa Region.
Alhaji Idris stressed that this was coming at an auspicious time considering the set-back suffered by the nation’s economy due to endemic corruption occasioned by money laundering and terrorism financing.
According to him, the Stakeholder Roundtable provided another opportunity for them to discuss and advocate on the crucial issue with a view to making a positive impact that will endure overtime.
Alhaji Idris pointed out that the losses in economic growth, trade opportunities, and social development are unquantifiable.
He noted that this constitutes a drain on Africa’s foreign exchange reserves, reduction of efforts to enhance domestic resource mobilization, contract investment inflows and contributing to low social development indicators including poverty and inequality.
Alhaji Idris is optimistic that It is a collective responsibility and a priority for the private sector, civil society and government to address systemic challenges and gaps undermining the efforts to curb Money Laundering/ Countering Terrorist Financing & Curbing Illicit Financial Flows.
According to Alhaji Idris, this includes lack of transparency, weak accountability mechanisms, under capacity, resource mismatch, and others that can be identified through dialogue and strategic engagements on this nature.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Institute, Mr Nerus Ekezie, noted that the aim of event was to address the effects of terrorism and the magnitude it has assumed, owing to the amount of funds that gets into the hands of the terrorists and the way this funds are being used to acquire sufisticated arms , against the state.
Mr Ekezie pointed out that this non state actors have constituted themselves as a group and core terrorists in this country and West Africa region as business.
A representative from the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr Wunmi Adeniyi, explained that to curb money laundering in Nigeria, all the banks agreed to establish a common standard for account opening to address the issue of Know your Customer deficiencies.
Mr Adeniyi however noted that the banks should go a step further by ensuring that they are actually complying with the minimum rules as set by anti money laundering provision act.
Representatives from the public and private sectors attended the event both physically and virtually.