Members of Parliament (MPs) from Africa and Asia have pledged to join hands in the fight against illicit financial flows (IFFs) which they described as an evil that is draining the continents’ resources meant
The sentiments were made yesterday during the opening of a two-day International Conference on Combating Illicit Financial Flows from Africa in Harare Zimbabwe.
Fani Mnengami, a member of the African Parliamentarian Network on Illicit Financial Flows and Tax (APNIFFT), who is also a member of Zimbabwe Parliament, said legislators play a vital role in addressing.
IFFs and taxation on the continent through the mandate they hold and the constituents they represent.
“Illicit financial flows are responsible for draining the African continent of resources for development and are detrimental to revenue mobilisation efforts.
“Abusive transfer pricing and related commercial activities attributed to multinational companies operating on the continent represent a significant source of this outflow. The net outflows from developing countries, including the proceeds of tax evasion, outweigh inflows of aid and investment,” he said.
Mnengami also urged MPs from Africa and Asia to work together to root out the vice.
“We are all beginning to understand that the economic, political and social redemption of our individual countries can only come from within, while keeping in mind the advice and experience of other countries,” he said.
Kasungu West member of Parliament Alex Major (Malawi Congress Party-MCP), who is also an APNIFFT member, hailed the conference, saying it will help him contribute meaningfully to debate on financial crimes.
“The passing of the Access to Information [ATI] law is also one way of stopping the secrecy of doing business. In addition, Parliament has a new committee called Governance Assurance which looks at how government is doing its business.
“For example, the Kayerekera Mine saga will not happen again. No one knows the memorandum of understanding between Malawi and Paladin Africa,” he said.
In his remarks, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (Afrodad) executive director Fanwell Bokosi said legislators are vital in the fights against IFFs because, by the nature of their work and position, they can easily reach out and take on board ordinary citizens in the fight against the malpractice.
“MPs are vital in this fight because they are the only legitimate speakers of the people, they represent all people.
“We need to mobilise forces to fight IFFs through sharing experiences such as the progress and challenges our respective countries are meeting. We need to promote dialogue on this issue so that we learn from each other,” he said.
The conference, organised by Afrodad under the theme Strengthening Role of Parliament and CSOs in Combating IFFS, has drawn MPs, CSO leaders and journalists from Zimbabwe, Mali, Botswana, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mozambique, Kenya, Belgium, Nepal, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia and Malawi.
Computations of data released by the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) on the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) covering the period 2004 to 2013 indicates that Malawi currently ranks fifth in the region on IFFs.
Malawi comes after Botswana which is fourth placed, then Namibia on third position with Zambia coming second. The worst-hit country in Sadc is South Africa.