11 August, 2017

August Update on Global Partnership Initiatives

By Global Partnership

Global Partnership Initiatives (GPIs) are voluntary initiatives led by different types of development actors to advance implementation of development effectiveness principles and commitments. GPIs contribute to the Global Partnership’s vision by directly implementing commitments and by generating evidence, policy-relevant lessons and innovative solutions that can feed both mutual accountability and learning within the Global Partnership. They also spearhead the achievement of development results at country and regional levels. This article provides an update from the GPIs ‘Strengthening comparable tax statistical indicators’, ‘Active support to Tax Inspectors Without Borders’ and ‘Better than Cash Alliance’.

Launch of 2017 editions of Revenue Statistics in Asian Countries and Revenue Statistics in Africa

The 2017 edition of Revenue Statistics in Asian Countries launched on 20 July (see flyer and full publication). Published annually since 2014, the publication compiles comparable tax revenue statistics for Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. It will include more Asian and Pacific countries in the future. In September, the 2017 edition of Revenue Statistics in Africa will be launched during an event hosted by the African Union in Addis Ababa (date to be confirmed). The coverage of Revenue Statistics in Africa 2017 has expanded from 8 to 16 countries, compared to the last edition, and will continue to grow in the future. In addition, Revenue Statistics in Latin America and the Caribbean 2017, covering 24 countries, was published in March.

Accurate, complete and reliable statistics on public revenue, and on taxes in particular, are critical to tax policy development and domestic resource mobilisation efforts. The Revenue Statistics publications provide a harmonised and comparable foundation to inform evidence-based decisions on tax and customs policies and administrative reforms. Data for the three publications is collected by participating countries, with technical support from the OECD, following the well-established methodology that underpins the OECD Revenue Statistics database. Using a common methodology enables comparisons of tax levels and structures on a consistent basis, both among economies from the same region and between regions. The three publications are part of the initiative ‘Strengthening comparable tax statistical indicators’, which over the next two years will seek to expand coverage, dissemination and accessibility of the Revenue Statistics publications in collaboration with regional partners and with support of the European Commission while maintaining quality, consistency and detail of the datasets.

If your government is interested in joining one of the Revenue Statistics publications, contact Michelle.Harding. For more information, consult the Revenue Statistics website.

Tax Inspectors Without Borders

The recently published Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Annual Report 2016/17 reflects on a significant year for this Global Partnerships Initiative.  A joint initiative of the OECD and UNDP, TIWB facilitates the deployment of tax audit experts who work alongside local audit teams, sharing knowledge in a hands-on approach.

The Annual Report reviews progress thus far, with 21 programmes in 19 countries running as of April 2017 – including the first South-South programme with Kenya providing technical support to Botswana. Results to date show over USD 278m in increased tax revenues.  Other significant developments include the establishment of a UNDP Roster of Experts (mostly retired tax auditors) to complement those provided through partnership with national revenue authorities.

In addition to reviewing the activities and results, the report highlights lessons learned from the programmes, progress towards improving the measurement of results in the future, and the Work Plan for 2017/18.  Implementation of the Work Plan is well underway, with an additional seven programmes set to launch in the second half of 2017.  Read the report on the TIWB website.  For further information, contact secretariat@tiwb.org.

Updates from the Better than Cash Alliance

The Fight for Light: Improving Energy Access through Digital Payments, a new report from the Better than Cash Alliance GPI, examines new business models and government initiatives for energy access that rely upon digital payments. While numerous solutions exist to meet the needs of the more than one billion people who still lack access to clean, affordable and reliable energy options, expanding efforts to rural areas, where many households lack traditional grid expansion, remains a key challenge. The study examines how, by incorporating digital payments into existing energy services, off-grid innovators, progressive utilities, private investors and government agencies have all found ways of bringing light to some of the darkest corners of our world.

Digital financial services have been an important component of the G20’s work in promoting financial inclusion and driving economic growth since 2009. The G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion, published in 2016, outlines eight principles designed to inform national plans to leverage digital financial services. The aim of these principles is to sustainably increase financial inclusion while fostering inclusive growth, sustainable development and protecting users of digital payments. Building Inclusive Digital Payments Ecosystems: G20 Guidance Note for Governments, a report by the Better Than Cash Alliance for the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, supports the implementation of these principles in the context of inclusive digital payments ecosystems, reflecting lessons drawn from policy development and implementation initiatives undertaken in several countries.

For more information about Better than Cash Alliance work and publications, contact Usman Iqtidar.