Pres. Buhari calls to end illicit flow of funds

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on all governors of central banks in Africa to bring to an end all forms of illicit flow of funds out of the continent.

The President stated this while speaking at the opening session of the 2016 annual meeting of the Association of African Central Banks.

The event held at the headquarters of the Central Bank of Nigeria and had as its theme, ‘Unwinding unconventional monetary policies: Implications for monetary policy and financial stability in Africa’.

Buhari, who said the banking system across the continent had an important role to play in the fight against corruption, however, regretted that the African financial system had become a veritable platform for the transfer of most stolen funds.

He said as the regulator of the financial system, governors of central banks had another role to play in reversing the trend of illicit flow of funds out of Africa.

In doing so, he urged them to put in place measures to ensure that the proceeds of the illicit flows were repatriated to their countries of origin.

He, however, expressed optimism that with the cooperation of all member countries within the continent, the fight against money laundering and illicit flow of funds would be won.

He said, “This association, with the cooperation of all member countries could be an important machinery for fighting money laundering and illicit flow of funds. One of the cardinal objectives of the association should be the prevention of money laundering, terrorist financing and illicit flow of funds out the continent.”

The President also said that with the myriad of economic challenges facing the country, it would be difficult to achieve the desired growth with monetary policy instruments alone.

He, however, added that with effective balancing of monetary and fiscal policy measures, the needed growth would be achieved.

In seeking solutions to the economic challenges, the President told the governors of central banks in the African countries that they should look inwards and adopt what he described as home-grown solutions rather than adopting foreign prescriptions.

He said, “Those of us who rely on only natural resources, such as Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, and Mozambique, have been hit the hardest.

“Faced with these challenges, African central banks have been at their best in keeping African economies afloat through proactive and effective combination of conventional and innovative monetary policies.”

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, in his address of welcome, said the issue of illicit flow of funds had been one of the major problems affecting economic growth within the continent.

He said while the banking sector was best positioned to mitigate the flow of illicit funds, there was a need for cooperation among member countries to check the trend.

The Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, said with slow growth being witnessed in major economies, the governors of African central banks needed to come up with vibrant initiatives to stimulate growth.

Represented by Atingi Ago, she said the sudden reversal of capital flows could lead to excess volatility in assets prices within the African region.

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