Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-based research and advocacy organization, in its newly released report, has said that out of the 20 biggest exporters of illicit financial flows for decades, Nigeria occupies the 7th position with $19.66 billion (N3.047trn).
It said Nigeria, termed the 7th biggest money laundering country in the world, exported $19.66 billion by leaders who had access to the nation’s money between 2000 and 2010.
The report, which was co-authored by GFI’s Lead Economist, Dev Kar, and GFI’s Economist, Sarah Freitas, 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 $6 trillion stolen from poor countries within the decade and $859 billion in 2010.
According to the report, China is leading the pack with $274 billion average ($2.74 trillion cumulative); followed by Mexico with $47.6 billion avg. ($476 billion cum.); Malaysia, $28.5 billion avg. ($285 billion cum.); Saudi Arabia, $21.0 billion avg. ($210 billion cum.); Russia, $15.2 billion avg. ($152 billion cum.); and Philippines, $13.8 billion avg. ($138 billion cum.).
“Astronomical sums of dirty money continue to flow out of the developing world and into offshore tax havens and developed country banks. Regardless of the methodology, it’s clear developing economies are hemorrhaging 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,” Raymond Baker, GFI director said.
Kar explained further: “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.”
The report goes further, “The $858.8 billion of illicit outflows lost in 2010, is a significant uptick from 2009, which saw developing countries lose $776.0 billion under the new methodology.
“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.”