Policymakers lay foundation for consultative platform on tax issues
NAIROBI, 7 July 2016– The Tax Justice Network–Africa (TJN-A) in collaboration with the East Africa Tax and Governance Network concluded a consultative forum on ways of curbing illicit financial flows from Africa and their role as the Legislators to stop the same. The meeting also focused on Tax and Human rights issues.
The meeting was attended by 33 Members of Parliament from various countries in Africa and eight civil society group representatives with objectives to; update and brief MPs on the last APNIFFT meeting; update MPs on recent developments in Africa on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF); to recruit new MPs on the APNIFFT; strategizing and brainstorming on an APNIFFT programme of work for the rest of the year; and to agree on coordination mechanisms between the APNIFFT and CSOs.
‘When APNIFFT was set up in 2014, a lot of the members of parliament come into these meetings with no idea of what Illicit Financial Flows are, and we have been able to build capacity on the same which is very critical for Governments as they sign contracts with multi-national companies,’ says Khanyisile Tshabalala, the current Chairperson of APNIFFT.
Illicit financial flows are responsible for draining the African continent of resources for development and are revenue mobilization efforts. Abusive transfer pricing and related commercial activities attributed to multinational companies operating on the continent represent a significant source of this outflow.
‘It is important for Governments to comprehend and demystify issues surrounding Tax even as they try attract Foreign Direct Investments into their countries,’ she added.
There have been renewed political momentum globally to tackle the illicit financial flows through various international initiatives and efforts aimed at changing the global tax rules.
‘One of the biggest challenges that tax administrators in the continent face is that there is a lack of political will and support for the work that they do. The political spectrum does not understand all the issues involved in tax administration so we’re very excited about APNIFFT as it provides a platform for the support that tax administrators need,’ said Lincoln Marais the Director of Strategy and Planning at the Africa Tax Administration Forum (ATAF).
The main goal of APNIFFT is to provide a platform for African legislators / parliamentarians to undertake sustained advocacy related dialogue and debate in a simplified manner on Illicit Financial Flows, tax governance and domestic resource mobilization on the African continent.
During the two day meeting the legislators managed to lay the institutional foundation for the platform including the adoption of a constitution. To show commitment the MPs developed a work programme for the next year and agreed collaborate in their efforts to curbing IFF from Africa.
In his closing remarks Alvin Mosioma, the Executive Director of Tax Justice Network-Africa, appealed to the leaders to pursue the Tax Justice agenda at different platforms and fora accessible to them. This includes work on the floor of Parliament and the different parliamentary committees.
‘Issues of Illicit financial flows and Tax justice are not just a technical issue but are political issues which also require political will. Members of Parliament have a responsibility through the legislature to push for the enactment of policies and laws that support effective domestic resource mobilisation in Africa,’ said Alvin Mosioma.