A two-day virtual conference of African Organizations of Public Accounts Committees (AFROPAC) has kicked off in Monrovia.
It is being held under the theme “Collect comprehensively, borrow wisely, spend efficiently: public finance oversight in a time of pandemic recovery”
The Chairperson of AFROPAC and Chairperson of the Joint Public Accounts Committee of the Liberian Senate, Margibi County Senator Emmanuel Nuquay says the regional training is intended to equip members of parliament and their support staff to increase their knowledge of public financial management in the area of budget cycles in the African Parliamentary Systems and contribution of Legislators in public financial management.
Chairperson Nuquay explains that AFROPAC is also in partnership with other networks such as the African Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI), the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) including other regional networks.
He notes that AFROPAC is gaining acceptance as a key voice in many countries in its activities currently.
“As current Chairperson, we are aware of the challenges posed by illicit financial flows (IFF) and the serious threat to Africa’s socio-economic transformation and the achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda 2030.”
Chairperson Nuquay stresses that accountability is critical in the attainment of the African Union (AU) agenda 2063 which provides impetus and direction to Africa’s development.
He acknowledges the strategic value of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in enabling oversight and public accountability in Africa.
AFROPAC was established in September 2013 at the Arusha International Conference Center in Arusha, Tanzania in a ceremony attended by over 400 delegates from across Africa.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia, Edwin W. Harris says the movement of illicit financial flows can take the following forms such as a drug cartel using trade-based money laundering techniques to mix legal money from the sale of used cars with illegal money from drug sales, an importer using trade mix invoicing to evade customs duties, value-added tax or income taxes.
Director Harris notes that this can occur thru a corrupt public official using an anonymous shell company to transfer dirty money to bank accounts in other jurisdictions as well as a human trafficker carrying a briefcase of cash across the border and depositing it in banks.
Liberia’s Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah says the COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have affected the status of several economies around the world, including Liberia.
Minister Tweah continues that as the result of the impact of COVID-19, economic recovery is gradually kicking off, but the war in Ukraine is also contributing to the constraint of the Liberian economy, noting that infrastructure deficits have affected several countries in Africa.
He acknowledges that Liberia faces serious road and electricity challenges that the government is seeking means to address, and assures government willingness through the Ministry of Finance to work with AFROPAC in strengthening the financial management system. Editing by Jonathan Browne