24 September 2013 – Nigerian Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala cited the Global Partnership as an important tool to help developing countries collect more tax and cut illicit flows at a high level panel discussion on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Watch a video of the event.
‘Helping countries fund their own development must be a part of a global development framework for the after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015’ she said. ‘The Global Partnership can help us unlock some of these illicit funds’.
Moderated by the BBC’s Zeinab Badawi, the discussion on development co-operation, tax and illicit flows at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN included Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia; Former South African President Thabo Mbeki; Ministers from Mexico, Norway, Indonesia and the United Kingdom and senior officials from the IMF, the OECD and the Colombian tax administration.
‘Africa loses around 50 billion dollars a year through tax evasion, undeclared business and corruption’ said Thabo Mbeki, who chairs the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa. ‘The amount lost since 1970 is about three times the amount of the continents external debt’.
Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf called for greater co-operation in helping developing countries improve their national tax authorities.
‘The policemen are good, but we must build new partnerships to plug leaks and build capacity’ she said.
Minister Okonjo-Iweala shared Nigeria’s experience in boosting capabilities of national tax authorities: ‘Through work on improving our tax administration we’re collecting five times more now than we were 10 years ago. But there is so much more potential here’ she said.
OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria cited the ‘huge political traction’ on tax and information sharing in the G20 group of leading economies. Automatic trans-national tax information exchange must be the ‘new normal’ to curb tax avoidance by big multi-national companies he said.
The Global Partnership is looking at how development co-operation can boost tax revenue and build institutional capacity for tax collection in the run up to its first Ministerial-level meeting to be held in Mexico in 2014.
‘Alongside south-south co-operation and the theme of middle-income countries in development co-operation, boosting institutional capacity for tax collection will be an important theme for the Ministerial’ said José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Co-chair and United Kingdom Development Minister Justine Greening stated the importance of the private sector in development at the Ministerial meeting and that the Global Partnership can help ‘light the way’ for a broader partnership in global post-2015 development goals.
Read the briefing on domestic resource mobilisation and the Global Partnership.