Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, has claimed that looting Nigeria’s treasury is too easy, while recovering them takes years.
Adeosun said this while speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, the second day of a three-day conference on ‘Promoting International Cooperation in Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Enhancing Asset Recovery to Foster Sustainable Development.’
“We are taking steps to improve tax administration, to improve compliance and just to generally make it a little more difficult for people to loot the treasury.
“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,” the Minister said.
Adeosun also revealed Nigeria was still struggling to repatriate stolen funds stashed in foreign accounts two decades ago.
“A lot has been done about speaking about the problem. We need to move to how to solve the problem. From the Ministry of Finance’s perspective, our view is that prevention is better than cure.
“Recovering money is exciting but it’s difficult. It takes years. 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 from 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,” she added.