Nduka Chiejina, 19 May 2021
The Federal Government yesterday appealed to countries that are the main destination for illicit financial flows (IFFs) to freeze, seize and repatriate such funds. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed made the appeal during a virtual International Conference on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and Asset Recovery.
According to her, countries that are the main destination for IFFs and their proceeds should take urgent steps to assist in combating this scourge, by preventing the inflow of illicit funds, freezing or seizing assets already in the country, and by ensuring that illicit funds and any proceeds are repatriated. The government is also leading the call for African countries to be present when decisions on IFFs are taken at a global level.
“Africa must have a seat at the table and be well represented during negotiations about illicit funds and their proceeds,” Mrs Ahmed said.
The resulting domestic revenue losses from IFFs she said “are significant, putting developing countries and the entire African region at risk of not achieving sustainable and inclusive development, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic”.
She said Africa is in a “race to the bottom to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) as a result of the current international tax practices and treaties”.
The finance minister lamented that “commercial activities (particularly aggressive tax avoidance and tax evasion, through trade mispricing, abusive transfer pricing, profit shifting and tax arbitraging) account for approximately 65 per cent of illicit financial flows across Africa”.