My name is Andrew Masiye, and I am a small time business owner from Lusaka, Zambia. I’m an active member of ActionAid Zambia Activista group and I have been involved with ActionAid for just over a year.
It has been a really worthwhile time and experience to be able to be part and parcel of this campaign group and I am pleased to be campaigning together with people in the UK to stop tax injustice.
In 2012 it was brought to my attention by Action Aid Zambia, the tax injustice being practiced in Zambia by one of the multinational corporation operating in Zambia’s Southern Province of Mazabuka, Zambia Sugar Company. Zambia Sugar is owned by Associated British Foods, with its headquarters in London.
They are practicing tax avoidance which is robbing our nation of millions of dollars in taxes. Money that is desperately needed by the government to develop the nation and provide a large number of social programmes for its people.
We held a number of campaign programmes and conducted a one week “Sugar Free Week” where we were asking people not to buy and use Zambia Sugar products for a week. I also conducted a One Man Campaign on the same issue of Zambia Sugar Tax Avoidance, in residential areas of Lusaka, namely Kabulonga, Helen Kaunda and Mutendere. The campaign earned me the name “Mr Sugar.”
Our persistence with the campaigns has started bearing fruit with the introduction of a statutory instrument in Zambia meant to curb tax avoidance. The government published the Statutory Instrument in both the National and Private Print media.
Apart from the Zambia Sugar campaign we as Activista also engaged government and other stake holders to explain why some mining companies were not paying their fair share of taxes.
Last week I travelled to the UK, to speak at a Tax Justice campaigner’s conference. This was so insightful and really encouraging. To see how people from all age groups are passionate about Tax Justice has really given me a new perspective to the fight for Tax Justice.
I have learnt how to conduct what will be a successful campaign on a number of issues not just around taxes only but also other areas like poverty and inequality.
You can join Andrew in the global fight for tax justice by telling Barclays to stop promoting tax havens.