ActionAid’s Tax Justice Campaign has taken off in over 20 countries around the world. Take a look at some of the highlights and progress made in recent months.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times by the scale of the challenge of fighting for something like a fairer tax system. Let’s remind ourselves then of two things. Firstly, that we’re not alone in this.
From Bangladesh to Nigeria, ActionAid campaigners from 20 federation partners across the globe have been joining the fight for tax justice, as part of ActionAid’s global Tax Power Campaign.
Secondly, that progress is being made all the time towards a time when multinationals will pay their fair share like everyone else. As my good friend, Kenyan campaigner Joy Maghoi once told me, every journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.
After we exposed Zambia Sugar (owned by Associated British Foods) for paying ‘virtually no’ corporation tax in Zambia despite making US$123m in profits, the Netherlands government commits to review tax treaties with 23 developing countries and issues a clear warning to ‘shell’ companies that they must prove their Dutch operations are legitimate, or leave.
Hundreds of teachers, nurses, police, farmers and MPs march together with ActionAid staff from across the country to launch the campaign in Kampala, Uganda. The protest is followed by a public debate. The government agrees to put all tax treaty negotiations on hold until a framework for fairer treaties is agreed.
The Rwandan government announces a reduction in tax breaks for multinationals after a report by ActionAid on the impact of tax incentives in East Africa estimates that Rwanda loses out on at least 25 per cent of potential revenues in incentives and exemptions to businesses
Financial consultancy firm KPMG issue a report, Tax and Morality, acknowledging the reputational risk for companies involved in tax avoidance and the public momentum behind changing the rules. Campaigners are credited with helping
A leaked Deloitte paper, Investing in Africa through Mauritius, helps lift the lid on the tax avoidance techniques being used to deprive poor countries of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax through the tax haven island.
ActionAid Zambia staff meet with Vice President Guy Scott, who agrees that Zambia Sugar should not be paying as little as 10% in business taxes while some farmers pay 35%. He proposes a working group to look at tax avoidance, specifically at the examples brought to his attention — a huge step in the start of serious engagement with the government.
ActionAid Nigeria and ActionAid Ghana submit evidence to the African Union High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows in Accra as part of investigations into the funds Africa loses through illicit channels. Evidence includes ActionAid’s Barclays and Deloitte reports, ensuring a strong civil society input.
ActionAid Malawi launch their campaign with a protest march of over 300 people and a report on how Malawi’s tax system affects people living in poverty. The Director of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance announces a number of commitments, including a review of tax laws related to harmful tax breaks given to multinational companies.
Campaigners in Nigeria hold a silent protest at a meeting of the African Union Finance Ministers, getting the attention of ministers with placards urging action on tax dodging. The Nigerian Finance Minister draws on ActionAid research and analysis to encourage his colleagues to take action.
ActionAid Demark begins its month-long Tour the Future cycle tour, cycling the length and breadth of Denmark accompanied by ActionAid Zambia Activista campaigners. Working with local volunteers in each town campaigners build mock tax havens and hold events to raise awareness of multinational tax avoidance and its consequences for developing countries.
After campaigning and advocacy by ActionAid Tanzania, the Tanzanian government cancels the licences of 174 mining companies, citing failure to pay their taxes on time.
Hundreds of Zambian campaigners and their partners march against UK listed company KCM, subsidiary of Vedanta after questions are raised about how much tax they pay. The Zambian Revenue Authority responds with a forensic audit of the company’s accounts.
The Irish Government begins an analysis of how their tax system affects developing countries, as exposed by ActionAid’s Sweet Nothings report, following the Netherlands’ example.
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