WINDHOEK – The outflow of wealth from poor African countries through tax evasion, money laundering, corruption and other misdeeds is becoming an even bigger worry for the continent.
The blunt effect of an estimated N$700 billion (U$50 billion) outflows of wealth from poor African countries per year by far exceeds the overseas development assistance to the continent.
This is contained in the report compiled by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts for the international conference on tackling illicit financial flows, which took place in Cameroon last year.
Money illegally earned, transferred or used that crosses borders is the most common definition of illicit financial flows.
The report was compiled by members of the standing committee, whose chairperson is RDP’s Mike Kavekotora.
It shows that weak governance combined with a lack of collaborative and consistent strategies to fight illicit financial outflows was regarded as an enabler and a consequence of such illicit activities to continue to thrive.
Further, the report underlined that the successful fight against illicit financial outflow activities largely depends on the development of appropriate tax, budgetary, fiscal and auditing policies that are effectively implemented, regulated and subjected to efficient oversight.
Therefore, it was suggested that the continent should also craft relevant legislation, procedural frameworks, build capacity and technical expertise, but most importantly ensure ethical conduct at all levels in public institutions.
To achieve the above, the report suggests the effective fight against illicit financial outflows requires a supportive, concerted multi-sectoral and collaborative governance where everyone (parliaments, governments, the private sector, civil society and international institutions) need to do their part.
Moreover, the members of the standing committee wish that the report is considered, discussed and adopted by the National Assembly.
The committee recommends that Namibia should ensure that domestic legislation is brought in line with international treaties, standards and practices.
It further recommends the establishment of bilateral agreements to standardise and harmonise legislation, policies and pricing of assets.
It also called for strengthening cooperation between the public accounts committee, audit institutions, law enforcement, customs and tax compliance agencies within the country and between counterparts in other countries and jurisdictions.
Another recommendation is to use effective communication to build political will, gather the support of the general public and facilitate the cooperation between officials, administrators, experts and professionals.
They suggest equally a need to create awareness, strengthen capacity building and training for all those engaged in financial, legal and judicial management as well as the strengthening of institutional and personal leadership to serve as role models for others.