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Ghana’s Poverty Blamed On Illicit Financial Flows
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The Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) and the Tax Justice Coalition Ghana have observed that Ghana, and for that matter Africa, is poor because of deliberate leaking illicit financial flows (IFF).

At the launch of ‘Stop the Bleeding’ to campaign against the financial leakages in the country and Africa, ISODEC and Tax Justice Coalition, therefore, said the time is now for them to explain the need to promote equity, transparency and accountability in the promulgation and implementation of tax laws in Ghana for national development.

Consequently, in a keynote address, the Chairman of the Tax Justice Coalition Ghana, Vitus Azeem, mentioned that while he was encouraged by the expressed commitment and efforts by African governments, under the auspices of the AU, to fight IFF, he was concerned about the fact that in spite of the commitments, huge amounts of potential tax revenue continued to be missing through high levels of IFF, especially, in the extractive sectors and commodity trading.

He warned that the menace could bring Ghana and Africa on their knees if not carefully checked.

Mr. Azeem stated that annually, conservative estimates are that Africa loses as much as $50 billion dollars, being bribery of state officials and theft of state assets, including outright criminal activities.

Continuing, he said: “Drug and human trafficking stand at 5% and 30% respectively, with corporate criminal activities standing out as the biggest culprit, accounting for as much as 65% of all illicit outflows.”

He argued that the main mechanism, through which corporations are bleeding the continent, is through trade mis-invoicing, citing the practising of misrepresenting the price or quantity of imports and exports to hide or accumulate money in other jurisdictions. “Trade mis-invoicing accounted for 68.8% of all illicit outflows from Sub-Saharan Africa, between 2003 and 2012.

“Economic Commission on Africa estimates shows that between 2001-2010, African countries lost up $407 billion from trade mis-pricing alone,” he indicated.

Mr. Azeem said the Coalition recognised IFF as a symptom of a bigger structural problem of unjust economic and power relations between Africa and the developed world, that has historically impoverished Africa and enriched the West.

In the light of that, a tax expert and a lecturer at the Ghana School of Law, Abdallah-Ali Nakyea, Chairman for the programme, entreated journalists to report more corrupt practices, with special focus on civil servants.

Besides, he tasked the media to go beyond naming and shaming players in corruptible deeds by pushing for the recovery of the loots and, subsequently, pressing for severe punishments to be meted out to such thieves and nation wreckers.

In a related development, the Executive Director of ISODEC, Dr Steve Manteaw, denied public perceptions of being misreported by some sections of the media, regarding his familiarisation visit to the Atuabo Gas Plant in the Western Region, where the revelation of the missing state helicopters was discovered.

According to reports, four Z9 helicopters, purchased under the China Development Bank (CDB) facility to ensure safety and the provision of surveillance services, conduct medical evacuation and rescue operations in the event of any accident in the oil and gas sector, had been missing.

Dr. Manteaw described the reportage by the media outlets as a developing story he was finding out.

However, the former government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was quick to explain that the helicopters were kept in the hangers of the Ghana Air Force, Accra, but Dr. Manteaw told a section of the media at the ‘Stop the Bleeding’ campaign launch that the explanation defeats the purpose for the purchase of the aircraft.

Source: The Chronicle

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