Illicit Financial Flows: African Countries Call For Inclusive Global Tax System At United Nations

Nov 19, 2023 - 17:19
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Illicit Financial Flows: African Countries Call For Inclusive Global Tax System At United Nations
Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (left) with the Leader of the African Group and Zambia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Chola Milambo (middle), during the news conference on resolution promoting an inclusive and equitable international tax cooperation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

 By Adetokunbo FAKEYE 

 
United Nations, New York: African countries, in their move to checkmate western world and European countries to frustrate a review of the United Nations Internation Tax Cooperation, which is encouraging Illicit Financial Flows out of Africa, have called for an equitable and inclusive global tax system by the United Nations.


The continent stated that a new Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation had become necessary to rectify the historical imbalance in global tax governance and offer a more equitable platform for dialogue and decision making.


According to the Leader of the African Group and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zambia at the United Nations, H.E. Dr. Chola Milambo, said the proposal of a Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation was not a mere policy document but a beacon of hope for developing countries that have long sought a voice in the shaping of international tax norms.


Milambo, who addressed a news conference with other permanent representatives at the United Nations in New York, stated that the proposed Framework Convention would give fairness and inclusivity in the global tax system.


"Today marks a significant moment in our collective journey towards a more equitable and inclusive global tax system. The African Group has taken a significant step forward with the proposal of a Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation, a landmark initiative reflective of our collective commitment to fairness and inclusivity in the global tax system.


"This Framework Convention addresses the critical shortcomings of the current system, which often sidelines the unique challenges and perspectives of developing nations. Our proposal acknowledges the contributions of existing bodies like the OECD and the UN Tax Committee, while also recognizing their limitations in fully representing the interests of all nations, particularly those in the developing world", Milambo stated. 


The African Group leader added that the goal of the proposed framework convention was to ensure that all countries, regardless of their size or economic power, have an equal seat at the table in setting the agenda for international tax cooperation.


Milambo expounded that, by establishing a more equitable tax system, greater potential for spending would be unlocked in critical sectors like healthcare and education, pivotal for Africa and the Global South.


"The increased revenue generated will enable us to allocate resources where they are most needed, supporting sustainable growth and development. This approach is encompassed under the umbrella of 'sustainable development', ensuring that our initiative directly contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reflecting our shared commitment to a future where holistic progress and well-being are accessible to all.


"The human aspect of this Convention cannot be overstated. By reforming the international financial systems and ensuring fair taxation, we can significantly reduce the strain on international aid. More revenue for the Global South translates to less dependence on Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), fostering a more self-reliant and resilient world economy", the African Group chair further noted.


He, however, appealed for the understanding of Africa’s shared humanity with its partners such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, European Union, United States and United Kingdom.


According to him, "This Convention is not just a fiscal tool; it is a lifeline to millions who aspire for better healthcare, education and a life of dignity. Your support is crucial in turning this vision into a reality.


"Looking ahead to the 2025 Financing for Development (FFD) conference, this Convention sets the stage for a more inclusive approach to global economic challenges. It is a step towards a future where sustainable development, encompassing economic growth and environmental stewardship, goes hand in hand". 


In addition, Milambo advanced that the proposed framework convention would create a system that serves not just economies but the people at their core while also representing a commitment to a future where every nation, regardless of its economic stature, can thrive.


Also commenting on the development, the outgoing Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, OFR, expressed his support to the proposed Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation.


Prof. Owasanoye, who was a member of the United Nations High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (also known as the FACTI Panel), said the framework convention was necessary to remove the inequality in tax framework and the profit shifting which have prevented Nigeria and other developing countries from retaining multinational corporations’ (MNCs) revenue for tax purposes.


"It should not surprise us that the global north is resistant to multilateral convention or a framework convention as both will remove the inequality in tax framework and the profit shifting preventing developing countries from retaining MNCs revenue for tax purposes within jurisdiction of operation.


"I call upon the global north countries to soften their resistance to a UN driven multilateral tax convention in the interest of global aspiration to attain sustainable development goals and a world where no country is dependent on another economically", the outgoing ICPC Chairman stated. 


He assured that Nigeria would continue to play a leading role in the process being the biggest victim of the Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) in Africa, particularly the South of Sahara.

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