01 February 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – On the publication of the final report from the T. Mbeki High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows, Oxfam South Africa Executive Director Sipho Mthathi said:
“The Mbeki Panel reconfirms that billions of funds are flowing out of Africa. Its findings should strengthen calls to tackle lax trade regulation, inconsistent tax policy and enforcement, collusion, and corporate greed.
“These billions should be put back onto the balance sheet of African nations to pay for health care, schools, and protecting the environment. The Panel has found governments, both in Africa and around the world, turning a blind eye, and it’s become an addictive habit. Oxfam estimates that Africa alone is losing almost half of the global US $100 billion of annual illicit financial flows.
“Oxfam supports this long overdue report from the High Level Panel, but it must do more than merely scratch the surface of the problem of international tax dodging.
“The AU needs to close tax loopholes and incentives, shine a light on financial secrecy, and ensure that national tax laws are properly enforced. We hope the AU will endorse Oxfam’s call for a World Tax Summit in Addis Ababa in July to agree on a new vision for international tax cooperation.”
“We need giant strides – not baby steps on this issue. The time is fast approaching to decide on a new set of Sustainable Development Goals for the next 15 years. In July, when countries meet in Addis Ababa to discuss how to pay for these Goals, African countries must have used the Panel’s Report to prepare an Africa-ready plan that ties together recovered revenues with the AU’s “Agenda2063” ambitions.
“The OECD/G20’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) process has taken some positive steps towards greater international cooperation on tax but it has only consulted mainly developed countries in its process. The African Union should step up in representing all its citizens and demand an equal seat for African countries at the negotiation table.”