A two-day virtual conference of African Organizations of Public Accounts Committees (AFROPAC) has kicked off in Monrovia.
It is held under the theme “Collect holistically, borrow wisely, spend efficiently: monitoring public finances in times of pandemic recovery”.
AFROPAC President and Chairman of the Liberian Senate Joint Public Accounts Committee, Margibi County Senator Emmanuel Nuquay said the regional training aims to equip parliamentarians and their support staff to increase their knowledge in management of public finances in the area of the budget. cycles in African parliamentary systems and the contribution of legislators to the management of public finances.
President 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 African Collaborative for Budget Reform (CABRI), including other regional networks.
He noted that AFROPAC is increasingly accepted as a key voice in many countries in its current activities.
“As the current President, we are aware of the challenges posed by illicit financial flows (IFFs) and the grave threat to Africa’s socio-economic transformation and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda of the Development Goals. Sustainable Development (SDGs) of the United Nations.”
President Nuquay stresses that accountability is key to achieving the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, which provides impetus and direction to Africa’s development.
It recognizes 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 Liberia’s Financial Intelligence Unit, Edwin W. Harris, said the movement of illicit financial flows can take the following forms, such as a drug cartel using money laundering techniques business-based money to mix legal money from the sale of used cars with illegal money from the sale of drugs, an importer using mixed invoicing to evade customs duties, tax on value added or income tax.
Director Harris notes that this can happen through a corrupt public official using an anonymous front company to transfer dirty money to bank accounts in other jurisdictions, as well as through a human trafficker transporting a briefcase of cash across the border and depositing it in banks.
Liberian Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah said COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have affected the status of several economies around the world, including Liberia.
Minister Tweah continues that due to the impact of COVID-19, the economic recovery is gradually starting, but the war in Ukraine is also contributing to the constraint of the Liberian economy, noting that infrastructure deficits have affected several countries from Africa.
He acknowledges that Liberia faces serious road and electricity problems which the government is seeking to address, and assures that the government is willing, through the Ministry of Finance, to work with AFROPAC to strengthen the financial management system. Editing by Jonathan Browne