New Telegraph

December 11, 2023

Buhari advocates overhaul of int’l mechanisms for asset recovery

…pledges increased support for peace, stability in Guinea Bissau

President Muhammadu Buhari has advocated for the total overhaul of the international mechanisms of addressing the menace of illicit financial flows as he observed that the ones currently in place are not strong enough. Also yesterday, the president pledged that Nigeria would continue to assist Guinea Bissau in any way possible, saying that; “a peaceful and prosperous Guinea Bissau is a win for West Africa and for Africa.” Buhari joined the Heads of State and Government of Senegal, Mauritania and Burkina Faso, to celebrate the 47th independence anniversary of Guinea Bissau at the 24 de Setembro National Stadium, Bissau.

This position was presented on his behalf by his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday at the Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) Panel Video Conference, organized on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The President harped on a compelling need to strengthen international cooperation in assets recovery. The President said: “The current international mechanisms for asset recovery are not good enough as can be seen in the amounts lost to illicit financial flows and the length of time taken before the repatriation of just a small fraction is made. The FACTI Panel report can play an important role in bridging the expectations of source and destination countries as well as in harmonizing the process of assets recovery and return.” On the approach to promote equity and help achieve economic growth, Buhari said “we agree with the Panel on the importance of having a balanced approach that reflects the situation in different regions and the priorities of different stakeholders.”

He said: “I believe that for the global aspiration to recover better from the impact of the pandemics and to yield any inclusive result, we must comprehensively address existing structures that make it impossible for countries to generate and retain a sizeable chunk of their resources. The success of the FACTI panel’s final report will be measured by the clarity of its recommendations in support of global governance reforms”. Justifying the call for an urgent overhaul of the global system, the President said: “Evidence suggests that the contemporary international tax system uses a taxing rights regimethatisnotfitfor purpose, asitmakescombatingtaxabuses, especially by multinational corporations, difficult for most developing countries.” According to him: “It is my hope that the final report of the FACTI Panel would introduce proposals that would lead us towards a fairer international tax regime.

I also hope that the report would contain proposals that would address the continuing advocacy for country-by-country reporting, open disclosure and automatic exchange of information on beneficial ownership, as well as eliminate financial secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens that facilitate base erosion and profit shifting. “Profit shifting, harmful tax competition (the so-called “race to the bottom”), and the taxation of the digital economy should also receive adequate attention and focus in the report of the Panel.” Emphasizing the point about the dangers posed by the illicit financial flows and how the Panel’s work can be useful, the President said the problem will be best addressed internationally.

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