NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – Trade misinvoicing is making some countries lose up to 67 percent of commodity exports earnings, a new study by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development shows.
For instance, under invoicing of gold exports from South Africa amounted to US$78.2 billion (Sh7.9 Trillion) between 2000 and 2014, while it under invoiced its iron ore exports to China whose worth was US$3 billion (Sh304.3 billion).
On the other hand, under invoicing of oil exports in Nigeria to the United States was worth US$69 billion (Sh.7 trillion) equivalent to 24.9 percent of all oil exports to the United States.
UNCTAD Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi while launching the study said that trade misinvoicing is thought to be one of the largest drivers of illicit financial flows from developing countries.
“Countries are losing valuable foreign exchange earnings, taxes and income that might otherwise be spent on development,” he added.
Other countries to be caught up in the misinvoicing bandwagon include Zambia, Chile and Cote d’Ivoire.
“Between 1995 and 2014, Zambia recorded $28.9 billion (Sh2.9 trillion) in copper exports to Switzerland which is more than half of all its copper exports, yet these did not appear in Switzerland’s books. In Chile’s case between 1990 and 2014, the country recorded $16 billion in copper exports to the Netherlands, but these exports did not also appear in Netherlands’ books,” read the study.
Kituyi says that the matter is made worse by the fact that some developing countries depend on just a handful of commodities for their health and education budgets.
He has called out to countries and companies seeking to protect their reputation to come clean and work with UNCTAD on solving the problem.