Thursday, November 27, 2008

The morning after the night before

It's quite astonishing how far and how fast the Tax Justice agenda has spread. It's amply in evidence in an important new report on the financial crisis, just published by Christian Aid, entitled "The morning after the night before: The impact of the financial crisis on the developing world."

Christian Aid prepared this report for the International Conference on Financing for Development, just about to start in Doha, Qatar.

The report contains too many things to boil down and summarise here. Read it. At this stage, we'll just identify a couple of things. The first, and this is crucial:

"However bad it is for richer nations, it is the poor and vulnerable in developing countries who will suffer most from this financial crisis."

We cannot emhasise this too much. And take a look at these:

"Christian Aid has examined the impact of different income streams on poorer countries. In this report we conclude that nations struggling to find a way out of poverty benefit far more from revenues from taxes that they themselves impose and collect than from any other source of income."

Very well said. And we'd highlight these two main points, at the end of the report's summary.

"Before the present crisis struck, experts were already warning that while significant progress towards meeting the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) was being made, ‘urgent and increased efforts’ were needed, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Reforming the global financial system would help answer that rallying cry. The need for that effort is now more urgent than ever.

Two giant steps forward would be:
  • to introduce a requirement that businesses that operate transnationally must reveal publicly what they pay in tax in every country where they do business. That way abuses can be quickly identified

  • To reach a global agreement that will lift the cloak of secrecy that tax havens offer, forcing them to share information with tax authorities in other countries.
With those two measures in place, future crises can be averted and the battle against poverty can take on a new momentum.

Read on.


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