OACPS lack capacity to address tax avoidance, money laundering

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The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) says its members cannot address the fight against tax avoidance or money laundering and terrorist financing.

Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Secretary-General of OACPS, said its members could not also resolve the issues about the unilateral approach chosen by the EU to tackle the scourges.

Mr Chikoti said this in a webinar on the European Union lists of non-cooperative tax jurisdiction and that of the third countries, regarding anti-money laundering and countering the financing of Terrorism in Brussels
“These issues are not been contested in the OACPS countries,” he said.

The aim is to make a global diagnosis that will highlight the shortcomings of the tax jurisdictions of the OACPS Member States on the European Union’s lists of countries and territories that are non-cooperative for tax purposes, which falls under the list (1), and high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism plans under list (2).

It is also to provide a roadmap for the graduation of these OACPS Member States from the EU lists one and two.
The seminar on the EU lists of non-cooperative countries and territories for tax purposes and high-risk third countries in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing commenced on 21, June and will end on June 24, 2021.

He said political leaders had reaffirmed, at the highest political level, their commitment to promote good fiscal governance and to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

He said the members of the OACPS had maintained partnership relations with the EU and its Member States for more than half a century, which were their main development partners.

Mr Chikoti said despite the negative consequences of the lists, the political leaders of the OACPS did not wish to engage in a tug of war with the EU on the complex and sensitive issue.

“The OACPS and its members believe that the partnership agreement with the EU contains provisions and a framework for political dialogue to find mutually acceptable solutions to the listing issue,” he added.

He said the seminar would provide an opportunity for frank and constructive discussions with the EU and other stakeholders, including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, (OECD) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), on the theme: “Good governance in tax matters and the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing: a challenge for the financing of sustainable development.”

Through the webinar, the OACPS States concerned by the EU list one and two will share their experiences on the economic impact of these lists, and the policy measures they have taken to address them.

These States are exposed to serious adverse economic, financial, political and social consequences.
On the EU list one in Africa is Seychelles; in the Caribbean: Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago; in the Pacific: Fiji, Palau, Samoa and Vanuatu and on the list two in Africa: Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, Uganda and Zimbabwe; in the Caribbean: Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago; in the Pacific: Vanuatu.

These lists are accompanied by protective measures akin to sanctions, with detrimental consequences for the development of the countries on the lists, the majority of which are OACPS members.

Economically, the EU’s unilateral lists stimulate fear and mistrust of investors and business people towards the relevant OACPS jurisdictions.

Politically, the EU lists seriously affect the international image, integrity and reputation of the OACPS countries concerned, and threaten their internal economies as well as their international relations.

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