Adeosun tasks global community on illicit financial flows
Explains Nigeria’s economic agenda
The Federal Government has charged the global community to play by action rather than mere declarations on the issues of corruption and illicit financial flows, particularly from Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
The need for greater African and international collaboration against illicit financial flows would help to drive accelerated revenue growth and improved government efficiency in the face of the dwindling earnings.
The Minister of Finance and leader of Nigeria delegation at the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Group meetings in Washington DC, yesterday, flayed assessed complacency among developed countries, which serve as haven for proceeds of the ugly trend.
Adeosun, who gave the charge while addressing the Global Parliamentary Conference, assured the global community of the seriousness the country has attached to the ongoing reforms aimed at redeeming the economy and called for strong executive- legislative collaboration to tackle the challenges.
“The government is focused on resetting the Nigerian economy by addressing our traditional over-reliance on oil revenues and establishing the basis for sustainable non-oil revenue growth. 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 those funds as stolen 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,” she said.
Addressing senior representatives from the World Bank and IMF, as well as over 150 parliamentarians the Minister reiterated greater focus on collaboration against illicit financial flows from Africa as a core pillar of the government’s strategy to significantly enhance domestic government revenue and deliver sustainable economic growth.
But speaking on efforts to ensure significant reductions in ‘leakages’ of public funds, and improved efficiency in public expenditure, she added: “We are going after those who have stolen our money. We have put in place a very successful whistleblower programme that is delivering results, and allows those who report illicit activity to receive up to five per cent of any funds that we recover.
“We are also significantly improving our financial management controls to ensure that it is considerably more difficult for public funds to be diverted. 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 energy sufficiency and achieving agriculture and food security are two of the execution priorities we have identified in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 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.”