From Zakaa Lazarus
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Wednesday, described the illicit financial outflows to have increased at an alarming rate of 20.2% per year.
This was made known by the Executive Director, CISLAC, Anwual Ibrahim Rafsanjani, in a welcome address at the one-day dialogue on the status of adoption of High level panel report on illicit financial flows IFFs in ECOWAS member states.
According to Rafsanjani the report presents an opportunity for African CSOs and partners to forge a coherent continental architecture for tackling illicit financial flows IFFs.
He also added that the report has singles out the issue of weak national and regional capacities as a major obstacle in efforts to curb IFFs, making it clear ultimately a political issue, which he said in the the last few years has seen a notable emergence of civil society groups across the continent who have joined together to rally against IFFs.
In his words: “Progress was made on this front when the Report of the High-Level Panel (HLP) on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa was presented at the 24th AU Summit in Addis Ababa which held between the 21st to 23rd of January 2015 and was adopted by African leaders.
“The report echoed civil society voices from across the continent in highlighting illicit financial flows as a serious threat to inclusive development in Africa and calling for urgent practical policy action to stop the hemorrhage.
“The panel noted that the dependence of African economies on natural resources extraction makes them particularly vulnerable to IFFs, but also that the digital economy and new technologies are making it easier, adding a troubling new dimension to the problem.
” Indeed, IFFs have become a key part of Agenda 2063 conversations on Africa’s development as well as in ongoing processes such as the Financing for Development and the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
“Past responses have borrowed, sometimes uncritically, the concepts and proposed solutions from initiatives advanced by the G20 and the OECD – responses based largely on the problem as experienced by global North economies. The challenge will be to instead root the work in the specificities of the African context and experience.
“Therefore crucial task for African CSOs and partners is to properly problematise IFFs and develop distinctly African policy responses.
It is in view of all the above, as well as the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic which has exacerbated the fiscal deficit situation in most African countries-Nigeria inclusive, equally bringing to the fore, the urgency to address the vice of the illicit outflows, as well as the instrumentality of a modernized and effective tax system and a tax administration, which effectively engages in regional cooperation efforts, as essential fiscal policy tools for raising revenues for sustainable development.
“Thus, it is our hope that this engagement will provide the platform for robust deliberations and an opportunity to harvest an agenda towards strengthening sub-regional coordination in the effective and sustainable implementation of recommendations of the HLP report within member states in the sub-region.
“Let us be reminded that the development of Africa can only be championed by an African initiative, it is not good enough that not much has been done out of the recommendations of this panel.
“We hope to broaden the conversation on illicit financial flows (IFFs) beyond specialist circles in order to generate support for public policy measures.” Musa explained