THERE is need for the Zambian Government to begin addressing issues of illicit financial flows (IFFs) as recommended by the African Union congress held recently in Ethiopia, says ActionAid Zambia.
But Private Sector Development Association (PSDA) chairman Yusuf Dodia has warned civil society against mixing up terms which could incite members of the public against foreign investors.
ActionAid Zambia executive director Pamela Chisanga said it was becoming apparent that capital flight from Africa has affected infrastructure development on the continent.
Ms Chisanga said the declaration of the problem of IFFs in Africa by the AU and the recommendations thereof demanded of governments to begin planning at national level to address the problem.
She said there were a lot of misconceptions on the calls from civil society for governments to address the problem of capital flight, whose impact, members of the public did not understand as beneficiaries.
“This is time to mark up those recommendations in the AU financial report as a declaration to stop IFF in the trade practice on the African continent.
“Of course there are a lot of misconceptions in what we, as a country, want to get out of the foreign direct investment and the concerns of what the investors get out of their investment; but what about our investment through the physical labour and the natural resources?” Ms Chisanga asked.
She said the AU recommendations have demanded responsible investment where both the investor and the host government should benefit as stakeholders.
Ms Chisanga said as owners of the land, natural resources and the physical labour used in production, host countries must record valuable earnings from the investments.
“As owners of resources in terms of labour and natural resources, we should benefit as a people, and not just give all the benefits to the investors.
She was speaking during a workshop organised by ActionAid Zambia and Oxfarm under the theme “The cost of IFFs to Zambia and Africa – Taking action to STOP IFF, TO TRACK and GET the monies back” in Lusaka yesterday. And Mr Dodia has warned civil society against mixing up terms which could be aimed at inciting members of the public against international investors.
Mr Dodia said civil society organisations concerned with international investments must elaborate their arguments with simplified terms including their specific interests in the operations.
He said anything illegal was wrong, as it was not supported by the law, but that there was need to interpret some terms used in such arguments as ‘‘illicit.’’
Mr Dodia blamed the dependency syndrome of allowing things to happen without particular interests as citizens.
“It is the colonial governance syndromes of expecting Government to provide everything including guidance on market prices, instead of allowing capital markets to operate on a free economy and also on self monitoring.
“It is important to look at how the private sector has managed the Government to create an agenda,” he said.
He said there should be a strategic approach to how Zambia looked at the private sector instead of worrying about who was getting what from the business.
“Investors are here to make money and they would do anything to make profits and not to look at how they can contribute to the community or the environment,” he said.
Mr Dodia appealed to CSOs to update the statistics used in their arguments over illicit financial flows.