Liberia host forum for African Organization of African Public Accounts committees

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Monrovia – Members of Parliament in Africa, comprising committee members from various Public Account committees are meeting in Liberia to further deliberate on AFROPAC mission of one Voice of African Public Accountants Committees (PACs).

The organization, convening at the Farmington Hotel, is also exploring regional PAC networks through advocacy, synergies, capacity building, and research that ensures accountability and good governance for the well-being of their respective citizens.

AFROPAC, which was founded about a decade ago, is holding its 4th Meeting and Symposium in Liberia to review progress and proffer fresh ideas and benchmarks as to how Africa conducts and manages public finances.

The 4th Meeting and Symposium is being held under the theme “Collect Comprehensively, Borrow Wisely, and Spend Efficiently: Public Finance in the Pandemic Recovery.”

Over hundred members of parliament from across Africa are in attendance. The event is a weeklong forum which will focused on the critical importance of synchronization of member’s countries collective efforts across various government institutions and strive to achieve the African Union (AU) agenda 2063.

The forum will also be focused on enhancing Parliamentary oversight over financial accountability in Africa, share experiences amongst its members, to promote professional and technical development and co-operation among members of AFROPAC and other relevant bodies as well as promoting transparency, accountability and good governance of public resources.

The Farmington Hotel gatherings of Parliament members is also intended to approve and adopt the amended AFROPAC Constitution, approve and adopt the draft Monrovia Declaration and elect new members of the Executive Committee.

Senator James Emmanuel Nuquay (PUP, Margibi County) chairman on the Public Accounts Committee, in a statement said, the Farmington gathering attests to the AFROPAC commitment to continuous improvement aimed at achieving excellence through its core objective of being ‘the voice of the Public Accounts Committees in the region, promoting accountability and transparency.

Senator Nuquay said: “As the impacts of the global Covid 19 Pandemic continue to be felt across the globe and as the Ukraine-Russia crises takes a toll on the global economy, it has become crucially important for us to engage member states across the continent to adopt policies that encourage transparency and accountability in the management of meager resources.”

According to Senator Nuquay, in its 2020 report on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) in Africa, (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) disclosed that $88.6 billion USD from the continent go up in smoke every year. “This is a staggering 3.7% of the continent’s total GDP.”

The Senator added: “This number almost represents the total Official Development Aid, $48 billion USD, and Foreign Direct Investment, $54 billion USD, received by African countries per year. Just imagine, IFFs coming out of Africa, according to the same report, rose to $836 billion dollars from 2010 to 2015 while the continent’s external debt rose to $770 billion dollars in 2018.”

Added Senator Nuquay: “You can see that if proper mechanisms were in place by African governments to stop the illicit financial flows, there would have been no need for external debts. This is outrageous and hence criticality important in strengthening AFROPAC to institute better systems in the elimination of this scourge. The diversion of public funds through illicit financial flows or through internal corruption is indeed a threat to Africa’s development agenda. In 2014 alone, the report outlined, Africa lost an estimated $9.6 billion to tax havens, equivalent to 2.5% of total tax revenue. The time is now for robust regional coordination to bring about sustainable reforms.”

According to the Margibi Senator, Financing is crucial to achieving United Nations sustainable development agenda 2030 and Africa’s annual financing gap to achieve the 2030 sustainable development goals is around 200 billion dollars. According to a 2015 report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, some 50 billion dollars illicitly leave the continent every year.  “With such a large sum of money leaving the continent every year, less resources are left for sustainable development and human development. It is about time for our governments to work collaboratively to stop this wholesale bleeding. Inter-country collaboration is crucially important in the fight against this universal threat and hence the critical importance of strengthening AFROPAC.”

Senator Nuquay also called on members state not to relent in building partnerships with regional and international bodies aimed at building on its strength, improving on its weaknesses, capitalizing on its opportunities and building efficient shields against current and future threats.

“In order to implement our strategic objectives, we, through the help and supports of our various governments and our international partners, need to develop an enabling environment in which our human, financial and physical resources are appropriately allocated and deployed to help us attain sustainable excellence in the management of our countries. As we deliberate here in Liberia, we want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the immense contributions of all former and current leaders and all stakeholders of AFROPAC whose concerted and valuable inputs have helped to guide the institution over the years. Let me hereby take this opportunity to thank all of them for their invaluable work and services rendered to the institution and to Africa at large.”

President Weah speaks highly of AFROPAC

For his part, President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, spoke highly of the importance of the Africa Organization of Public Accounts Committees (AFROPAC) and its benefits for citizens across the African Continent.

Addressing the Symposium Monday, President Weah said like other countries, Liberia stands to accrue from the fair, transparent and accountable management of public accounts across the African Continent.

President Weah briefly reflected on the founding of the organization, stating, “I’m informed that AFROPAC was founded almost a decade ago with the vision to be the voice of all legislative and parliamentary public accounts Committees on the African Continent, for the purpose of promoting transparency and accountability through the PAN African network of parliamentary committee to structure budgets and other public accounts.”

The Liberian Leader acknowledged the objective of creating a unified structure of public accounts across the Continent is to regulate all parliamentary oversights of public expenditure, describing it is an important undertaking that gives rise to opportunities to share knowledge benchmarks and best practices to African peer review and exchanges.

“This network leads to increased prosperity for all our citizens and as they stand to gain immense benefits from greater transparency and accountability in the management of public finances,” the Liberian Chief Executive further noted.

He expressed profound gratitude to the Liberia’s Public Accounts Committee for ensuring the hosting of the 4th Symposium in Liberia and inviting him to participate.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Liberia and in my own name, I welcome you all to Liberia,” President Weah stated, wishing the delegates well in their deliberations towards the fruitful holding of the 4th Meeting and Symposium in Liberia.

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