The Honourable Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, is currently in Washington DC, attending the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings. She is participating in several events that are focused on the different aspects of the federal government’s economic reform agenda. At her opening event on Monday, she gave an address at the Global Parliamentary Conference, which had several parliamentarians from around the world present. She focused on Nigeria’s economic reform agenda and the need for strong executive and legislative collaboration.

“The government is focused on resetting the Nigerian economy by addressing our traditional over-reliance on oil revenues and establishing the basis for sustainable non-oil revenue growth,” said Kemi Adeosun.

While addressing senior representatives from the World Bank and IMF, as well as over 150 parliamentarians the Minister called for greater focus on collaboration in illicit financial flows from Africa as a core pillar of the government’s strategy to significantly enhance domestic government revenue and deliver sustainable economic growth.

Here are three takeaways from her address

On Illicit Capital flows

“To improve non-oil revenues, we have to address illicit capital flows. When stolen money is transferred from Nigeria or other African countries, there are too few questions asked by those countries that receive the funds, but when we identify those funds as stolen and seek to recover them, there are too many questions being asked,” said Kemi Adeosun.

On the recovery of stolen funds

“There is money sitting in foreign bank accounts that we have spent over a decade trying to recover. That is money that could deliver significant value for Nigeria as we seek to increase spending on critical infrastructure and establish a basis for long-term sustainable growth,” said the Minister of Finance.

“I hope that the Automatic Exchange of Information scheme coming into force next year will be a step towards achieving greater transparency, but we need more collaboration amongst parliamentarians in Africa, and across the World to ensure that this situation improves and those recipient countries are held to account.”

Domestic agenda to ensure significant reductions in ‘leakages’ of public funds

“We are going after those who have stolen our money. We have put in place a very successful whistleblower programme that is delivering results and allows those who report illicit activity to receive up to 5 percent of any funds that we recover. We are also significantly improving our financial management controls to ensure that it is considerably more difficult for public funds to be diverted. We have to do more though and that means collaboration with the legislature. We need tighter tax and financial reporting legislation and to ratify bilateral agreements so that our enforcement agencies are empowered to deliver the results that we need,” said Kemi Adeosun.

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