Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, has said the rate of treasury looting in Nigeria is on the high side because the system in place makes the act easy to perpetrate.
She said the federal government was employing means to make it difficult for looters to keep having a field day.
The Nation quoted the minister as saying this on Tuesday at a conference on “Promoting International Cooperation in Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Enhancing Asset Recovery to Foster Sustainable Development”.
The conference was organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in collaboration with the ministries of justice and foreign Affairs.
“We are taking steps to improve tax administration, to improve compliance and to generally make it a little more difficult for people to loot the treasury,” said the minister.
“My experience from the little time I’ve spent as a minister is that it’s far too easy to do these things in Nigeria, and we’ve got to make it much more difficult.
Adeosun lamented the difficulty in recovering stolen loot stashed in foreign countries and also noted that it was imperative to curb the illicit flow of Nigeria’s funds abroad.
She said the looted funds could be used to develop roads, power and capital projects in the country.
“From the Ministry of Finance perspective, our view is that prevention is better than cure. Recovering money is exciting but it’s difficult. It takes years,” she said.
“We’re still battling to recover money that was looted from Nigeria 20 years ago. So my perspective as Minister of Finance and as an accountant is: how do we block the money getting out in the first place?
“How do we strengthen our controls? How do we create the early warning systems that tell us to flag certain transactions? Let’s stop the money going out; let’s stop the loss, and then we can work on recovery.
“There’s a saying that you can’t miss what you’ve never had. But when we see our crumbling infrastructure, we are missing what we never had.
“We are missing the road, the power, the capital projects that could have been funded with money that has left our shores illegally, or money that is concealed within the country equally illegally.”
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