By Victoria Ojeme
The federal government of Nigeria and member countries of the South-South Cooperation has agreed on putting in measures to combat illicit financial flows within member countries.
According to IMF, illicit financial flows (IFFs) refer to the movement of money across borders that is illegal in its source (e.g. corruption, smuggling), its transfer (e.g. tax evasion), or its use (e.g. terrorist financing).
IFFs can have a big impact on the economic stability of a country and the broader global financial system. For example, they can drain foreign exchange reserves, lower tax receipts and reduce government revenue.
The South-South Cooperation is an association of developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
At the second United Nations high-level conference on South-South cooperation in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Director General of Nigeria’s Directorate of Technical Aid Corps, Pius Osunyinkami, who led the Nigerian delegation, presented a stunning charge from President Mohammadu Buhari where he called for urgent steps to tackle illicit financial flows.
According to Mr Osunyinkami, “illicit financial flows distort the growth and development of countries, drain foreign reserves, undermine genuine investment and eliminate resources that would have been used for poverty alleviation”.
The DG said “ending the scourge of illicit financial flows was one of the most cost-effective strategies for facilitating the timely implementation of the 2030 Agenda and other development priorities of the affected countries”
“I, therefore, call on all member states and corporate entities participating in this conference to commit to scaling up international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return”.
While drumming support for the South-South and other similar cooperations, Osunyinkami stated that Nigeria had been providing volunteer assistance to various countries in need of relevant expertise, a gesture which has challenged the view that Africa was only at the receiving end.
According to the DG “this scheme and other such schemes in Africa, have challenged the commonly held perception that Africa is only a recipient of aid. It is gratifying that Nigeria’s volunteer service has over the years made positive contributions to the socio-economic development of many African, Caribbean and The Pacific Countries”.
He explained that “Since the deployment of the first batch of volunteers in 1987, the scheme has sent tens of thousands of volunteers to over 36 countries, to bridge the human resource gap in the areas of education, judicial services, health care delivery, agriculture, engineering and public service”.
Mr Osunyinkami, however, emphasised that South-South Cooperations should continue to be guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty, equality and mutual benefit, and non- interference in the domestic affairs of countries”
The Directorate of Technical Aid Corps also recommended that all international cooperation should respond to needs and support development priorities of developing countries and economies in transition.