Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Annan urges fair taxation, corporate transparency
By Kabanda Chulu
Fri 21 June 2013, 14:01 CAT

FAIR taxation and corporate transparency will bring real benefits to millions of people in Africa, says former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

And IMF managing director Christine Lagarde says there is need to eliminate international tax avoidance and evasion which have become major risks to government revenue and threaten the credibility of tax systems in the eyes of citizens.

Welcoming the G8 commitments to promote fair and transparent tax systems, Annan, who is now chairperson of the Africa Progress Panel, said more work remains to be done on the issue of beneficial ownership.

"This is a tremendous breakthrough for fair taxation and corporate transparency that will eventually bring benefits for millions of people in Africa. I am delighted to see the G8 declare its commitment to establish the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities and to recognise that all countries must benefit from this exchange," stated Annan.

"G8 leaders have confirmed that it is not acceptable for global citizens to carry the cost of tax avoidance by multinational companies. However, more work now needs to be done to tackle beneficial ownership in order that resource-rich countries around the world can benefit fully from the resources beneath their soil."

Commending the G8 for including global taxation issues on its agenda, Lagarde emphasized the need to strengthen technical assistance to developing countries that should include measures that promote equitable and efficient tax systems as well as stronger tax administration.

"At a time when almost all governments need additional revenues, whether to deal with high post-crisis public debts or to finance critical investments in human development, combating tax evasion and addressing tax avoidance should top the list of potential revenue-raising measures," she said.

She also commended the G8 leaders for the 10 principles put forward in the Lough Erne Declaration.

"A commitment to fair taxes, increased transparency, and open trade will support the broader commitment to maintaining sound macroeconomic policies and restoring stronger growth and job creation," stated Lagarde.

"The IMF stands ready to work closely with its member countries including the G8 and other multilateral institutions on these important issues and challenges."

And the G8 have committed to boosting development efforts of African partners.

In a statement released at the closing of the Group of Eight summit, the G8 praised development efforts made by African citizens, governments and institutions.

"Africa is the next emerging continent, with a growing share of the world's trade, investment and economic output. We have an historical opportunity to work with our African partners to help promote inclusive and resilient growth in Africa, through greater transparency, improved infrastructure, better trade facilitation, the elimination of trade barriers and the manageme.

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