Osinbajo: Poor Contract Negotiations Lead To Illicit Financial Flows

Vice-president Yemi Osinbajo says poorly negotiated agreements are the major causes of illicit financial flows (IFFs) and economic loss in many nations.


Osinbajo said this at the opening ceremony of a capacity building for Nigerian negotiators event in Abuja on Monday.


The two-day event is organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in conjunction with the inter-agency committee on stopping IFFs from Nigeria.


According to the vice president, Guinea and Pakistan had suffered economic losses arising from poorly negotiated bilateral investment treaties, observing that Nigeria has also been confronted with similar issues.


He cited the Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) case where Nigeria is at risk of losing billions of dollars due to poor and shrewd negotiations of the contracts.


He advised that rules and guidelines for negotiations should be drafted with care and caution in line with the country’s objectives.


“One of the sources of economic loss for a country such as Nigeria is the consequence of poorly negotiated and poorly drafted agreement,” he said.


“Lack of accountability or monitoring… Nobody checks to know how a negotiation went so as to track outcomes. Henceforth, those who draft contracts that turn out poorly should be held accountable.


“Sometimes, we find out that huge contracts are drawn out without following due processes, lack of checks and balances have promoted corruption in our system.


“In most cases of commercial contracts, we have seen lack of transparency, and this ranges from not advertising and opening up opportunities to other potential investors and not subjecting agreements to established legislative and duty ratification processes.”


The vice-president further advised that officials must engage experts and highly experienced professionals in negotiating foreign contractual agreements.


In his remarks, Bolaji Owasanoye, ICPC chairman, said, “Negotiators of developing countries often mistakenly assume that beneficial agreements can be concluded mainly by diplomatic, political, compassionate, human rights or other non-legal considerations alone.


“Given the fact that the outcome becomes legally binding, it behoves negotiators to prepare themselves for a legal outcome and its implications on development rather than on sentimental considerations.”

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