Friday, September 24, 2010

Africa Tax Spotlight 2010: tax competition, tax incentives

Welcome to the latest edition of Africa Tax Spotlight, the newsletter of the Tax Justice Network for Africa. The theme of this issue is tax competition, with a special focus on the West African region and on tax incentives. The issue comes at a time when sub-Saharan African governments are prioritising efforts to reform and developm their tax systems in order to enhance the full potential of domestic resource mobilisation.

In the lead article Tax Incentives: Tool for Attracting Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria, Adeniran Samuel Fakila looks at a range of tax incentives in Nigeria in various sectors, combs through the country's long and troubled history in this area, and asks who benefits from these incentives.

In Taxation, Citizenship and National Development, Bishop Akoglo of ISODEC in Ghana looks at the challenges and limitations of taxation in countries with large informal sectors, narrow and rigid tax structures, undeveloped banking sectors and weak institutions and explores how the politics of taxation tends to take place in non-public arenas, typically small lobby groups pressuring for exemptions, though he sees local government as an exception to this. Overally, if tax is so important for nation-building, he asks, why is it rarely central in economic and policy debates?

ISODEC's Daniel Chachu follows this with What's oil got to do with it? Replacing baskets with buckets in Ghana's Domestic Revenue mobiisation Efforts. Chachu traces some of Ghana's post-independence tax history and looks at the prospects as Ghana enters the oil age.

This is then followed by Dr. Mohamed Jalloh's Tax incentives and foreign direct investments: implications for the Sierra Leone Economy, and ontlines some of the major tax losses the country has suffered from tax incentives which tend to happen on a case by case basis without any unified framework.

Christian Aid's Amadu Sidi Bah follows in the Sierra Leone theme with The paradox of incentive-based taxation and enhancing revenue mobilisation in Africa: the impacts on corporate taxation in Sierra Leone which sees tax competition as the direct result of an unfettered race between poor countries to attract investment, and drills down into different taxes and incentives in the aid-dependent country where tax constitutes just over 11% of GDP, as opposed to 30-50% in most OECD countries.

These articles are complemented by a series of reports on various TJN activities, from one on the French-language campaign Stop Paradis Fiscaux (in French), a report on our August 5-6 Manila meeting, a look at French civil society's pressure on the French government; a look at our forthcoming film Ca$hback, on the recent policy round table meeting in Johannesburg, another meeting on tax revenues for poverty reduction in Cameroon, and an interview with ISODEC's director Bishop Akoglo.



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