The government has been urged to enact a law to combat Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), the Director for Research and Advocacy at the Media Foundation of West Africa (MFWA), Dr Kojo Impraim, has suggested.
According to him, IFFs were denying the country of revenues needed for development.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times after a two-day IFFs workshop for journalists in Accra on Monday, Dr Impraim said the Global Financial Integrity Report estimated that Ghana in 2015 lost about $3 billion through IFFs.
“And today that is the same money we are seeking from the International Monetary Fund and this tells us the country is losing so much through IFFs,” he said.
The programme, organised by MFWA under the auspices of OXFAM, was to build the capacity of the media on the issue to enable them report accurately and expose the canker.
Participants were taken through legal, regulatory framework and policy responses to reducing IFFs in Ghana and the challenges militating against curbing it at both international and local levels.
Dr Impraim said even though there were lots of laws, such as the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Acts, legal frameworks and institutions to fight the menace, there was no specific law to deal with IFFs.
“There is a legal gap in Ghana’s efforts to combat IFFs,” Dr Impraim said.
The Director for Research and Advocacy intimated that IFFs were a security threat to the country.
“IFFs closed the financing and development gap of the country and undermined the credibility of public institutions,” Dr Impraim stated.
The menace, he said, also undermined the private financial sector regimes.
“IFFs are a complex business, the trend and nature of them require a lot more interrogation of data,” he said.
He said IFFs were prevalent in the mining and real estate sectors through transfer pricing.
Policy analyst at ISODEC, Mr Bernard Anaba, also in an interview, said IFFs were a serious problem in Africa and Ghana.
He said even though development partners, such as UNCTAD, were helping to fight the menace, Ghana must draw a comprehensive strategy to tackle the problem.
The policy analyst averred that due to the porous nature of the country’s borders, people could just bring in money and send it outside the country.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE