Transparency, Accountability Take Center-Stage

-As AFROPAC Commences 4th General Meeting & Symposium; Vowed To Battle Illicit Financial Flow

MONROVIA-A continental body, the Africa Organization of Public Accounts Committees on Monday, October 31, 2022 opens its 4th general assembly and symposium in the Country.

AFROPAC for short is a professional body comprising members of the African Legislature on the public accounts committees.

Its focus among other things according to Chairman Emmanuel Nuquay is to enhance parliamentary oversight on financial accountability in Africa as well as share experiences amongst its members.

The promotion of transparency and accountability in governance and public resources are a particularly key pillar focus since its establishment nearly a decade ago.

Delivering his remarks at the opening of the Assembly, the Margibi County Senator who is also the Chairman of AFROPAC disclosed that African Countries are losing substantial resources due to illicit financial flow.

He said the diversion of government funds to fight widespread corruption and unemployment including tax undermining are in short supply.

Chairman Nuquay wants proper mechanisms to be put in place to stop huge illicit financial flow on the continent.

“We need to institute many systems to eliminate such “, he emphasized.

According to him, the diversion of public funds through illicit financial flow, and controlled internal corruption are all threats to the developmental agenda of African Countries.

In 2014, he told the gathering that Africa lost close to 9.6B, 2.5% of total tax revenue stating that the time has come for robust regional coordination to bring about sustainable reforms on the continent.

Financing, he indicated, is also crucial to achieving the United Nations Agenda 2030 adding that Africa’s financial gap to achieve such target is around 200b.

In 2015, the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa report disclosed that  50b annually leaves the continent due to illicit financial flow while fewer resources are left for both sustainable and human development.

He stressed that it is time for Governments on the continent to work collaboratively as inter Country collaboration is crucially important to the fight against universal threats, which he noted is key to maintaining Africa.

Serving as Keynote Speaker was Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah Jr. who also unveiled that Africa is Geo-Strategically Disadvantage.

Making reference to 1950, he said the United States of America gave South Korea 2.5b while in the same year, the World Bank gave one hundred and fifty African Countries 2.5b respectively, this, he described as Geo-Strategic Expenditure.

“Africa is Geo-Strategically Disadvantage because it is unable to attract large investment for Geo-Strategic reasons unlike Latin America and Asia respectively”, he added.

Africa is at a place where Latin America used to be forty years ago and this is not good for the Continent, he said.

According to him, Africa has practically yet to receive any free resources to include investment and economic reforms from bigger donors / partners   unlike other Countries.

The continent, he pointed out will need 190b annually to close infrastructure gaps.

“Currently, we are on our own, we have to make do with our merger resources”, we have to stand up for the continent to turn it around for the betterment of the people”, he maintained.

Mr. Tweah at the same time challenged African Presidents to exercise political will, take the bull by the horn, and mobilize revenue, “we have to make tough choices in order to archive our respective development envelops, we have to fight corruption through controlled legislation and get ready to receive the political bullets for the supreme interest of the continent”,  Tweah warned.

Even though he cautioned against borrowing, but was quick to add that African Countries will have to borrow but to borrow wisely in order to improve infrastructure, “It is not possible for Countries to only rely on concession financing to grow”, he argued.

Africa, he stated is in another debt crisis due to repeated borrowing which Countries on the continent are coerced to do and can’t easily avoid.

Speaking about Liberia, he bragged that Liberia has made some improvements in debt management unlike in the past.

“Liberia has been upgraded from up rate of debt risk distress to now a moderate rate of debt distress, something he attributed to President George Weah’s political will in the achievement of the such milestone.

He indicated that even though Liberia has been a bit conserved in the process, but will be coerced to push for much higher risk in order to improve in infrastructure especially in roads, electricity and Ports as discussions relative to that will be put on the table to the IMF soon.

The opening session as equally important as it was to the general meeting and symposium saw in attendance, President George Weah including other cabinet officials as special guests.

In his brief remarks, the Liberian leader congratulated the Organizers for selecting Liberia for such a strategic meetings including members of the 54th National Legislature.

President Weah who also paid homage to former Grand Cape Mount County Senator Edward Dagoseh for being one of the brains behind the such a meaningful organization was also quick to wish the delegates fruitful deliberations while reminding them of the cardinal importance of transparency and accountability in their entire process, especially for the general good of the population across the Continent of Africa.

Meanwhile, the 4th assembly and symposium of AFROPAC is expected to end on Friday, November 4, 2022 with the election of a new core of officials including executive committee members as well as the adoption and approval of Monrovia’s declaration.

                                                                                    

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