African governments were on Monday urged to tighten loopholes in their revenue collection to help fund development programs.
Alvin Mosioma, Africa Executive Director of Tax Justice Network, a coalition of researchers on tax systems, said once loopholes that currently exist in collection are addressed, the continent’s domestic revenue are likely to improve that could help in improving lives of the populations.
“Africa can no longer let others drive its development agenda. We need to take ownership and use the revenues well for the good of the population,” Mosioma said during an International Tax Justice Conference in Machakos, east of Nairobi.
He noted that Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) is bleeding the continent dry as most multinationals involved in oil, mining and gas industry rarely pay taxes commensurate to what they reap from the continent.
He said the discussions on IFFs have been most urgent, yet the developing world has lost it again after a meeting in Ethiopia last month failed to conclusively deliberate on the matter.
“Tax evasions by the big multinational companies severely limit the capacity of the developing countries to raise their domestic resources to implement development programs,” he added.
According to a African Union and UN Economic Commission for Africa joint report conducted in 2014, Africa loses massive financial resources amounting to 50 billion U.S. dollars annually through illicit activities of multinationals and rich individuals.
Over the last 50 years, Africa is estimated to have lost in excess of 1 trillion dollars through IFFs alone, a sum that is equivalent to all the Overseas Development Aid (ODA) to all African countries received during the same period.
The report says that the effects of the loss mean loss of jobs, income, education and equipped health facilities, areas that are effective in transforming the economy of the countries.
Dereje Alemayehu, a Senior Academy Advisor at the Tax Justice Network-Africa, called on African leaders to curtail IFFs and transform the funds recovered into a powerful tool for enhancing domestic resource mobilization to spur the continents development.
He said that tax is the most reliable and sustainable source of financing development in the poor African countries, adding that without dependence on tax, countries are forced to rely on donations from the developed countries.
Tax Justice Network-Africa has launched an annual training program to help bridge an existing knowledge gap on tax justice in Africa and empower partners across Africa. Enditem