Nigeria seeks global action against illegal financial flows from Africa
The Federal Government has said that the increasing cases of illicit financial outflows from developing countries, especially Africa would negate all efforts to develop the continent and therefore made a strong case for a global action against such outflows from the continent.
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who spoke at the ongoing International Monetary Fund IMF/World Bank Spring Annual General Meeting holding in Washington DC, the United States of America, Tuesday solicited the support of the developed world towards curbing the increasing cases of illicit financial flows from Africa into the developed world.
The Minister told participants at the Global Parliamentary Conference at the MF/World Bank Spring meetings that the Federal Government of Nigeria was currently focused on resetting the economy by checking over-reliance on revenue from oil.
According to her, such global action, which remains the only viable way to help in the development of the black continent, could be achieved through strong executive and legislative collaboration.
The Minister also told the participants that the Federal Government was focusing attention on addressing illicit capital flows and the development of the non=oil sector in line with its economic diversification programme.
“To improve non-oil revenues, we have to address illicit capital flows. When stolen money is transferred from Nigeria, or other African countries, there are too few questions asked by those countries that receive the funds, but when we identify such stolen funds and seek to recover them, there are too many questions being asked.
“There is money sitting in foreign bank accounts that we have spent over a decade trying to recover. That is money that could deliver significant value for Nigeria as we seek to increase spending on critical infrastructure and establish a basis for long term sustainable growth.
“I hope that the Automatic Exchange of Information scheme coming into force next year will be a step towards achieving greater transparency, but we need more collaboration amongst parliamentarians in Africa, and across the world to ensure that this situation improves and that recipient countries are held to account.” .
“We have to do more though and that means collaboration with the legislature. We need tighter tax and financial reporting legislation and to ratify bilateral agreements so that our enforcement agencies are empowered to deliver the results that we need.
“To create the basis for long term growth, we need to invest urgently in our infrastructure. Achieving sufficiency in energy and agriculture as well as food security are two of the execution priorities we have identified in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan ERGP and we are looking forward to advancing our ongoing conversations with multilateral lenders on these priorities over the coming days as we look to accelerate implementation.”, the Minister said in an inline report.
The Minister however disclosed that the current administration has put in place a very successful whistle blower programme that is delivering results, as it allows those who report illicit activity to receive up to five per cent of any funds that is recovered through that process.
In addition to these efforts, the government is also significantly improving on its financial management controls to ensure that it is considerably more difficult for public funds to be diverted.
Recall that the Federal Government had over the years been grappling with the stringent conditions set by some developed countries in Europe and America for the recovery of funds looted from the country.
One classical example of such cases remains the huge sums of money looted by late Military Head of State, Gen, Sani Abacha and kept in some banks in European and American countries, many of which have yet to be recovered more than 20 years after his death.