Group charges African nations to protect revenue base, review tax treaties.

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500 and 1000 naira bills (Nigerian currency)Governments in Africa have been urged to evolve measures to protect their revenue sources.

The African nations were also charged to review the treaty that commonly dealt with multinationals in the continent.

The Civil Society Organisations Consultative Forum made the call at a conference on Monday in Abuja.

Mr Kola Banwo, Policy and Legislative Officer, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre,  said that review of the tax treaties was imperative due to observed lapses.

Banwo said that tax waivers given to the multinationals had become sources through which African countries were losing huge revenues.

According to him, the treaty, which is meant to be for ‘avoidance of double taxation for multinationals in Africa’, had become ‘double non-taxation’ tool of exploitation.

“The illicit financial flows have continued to deprive Africa and its citizen of funds for progressive and gender responsive services

“These are services desperately needed by people of Africa to get quality education, be able to live healthy lives with adequate health care and other benefits in the 21st century,” he said.

The group called on the countries to cooperate at continental and regional levels to counter tax competition and end harmful tax incentives.

It recommended that the governments should “cost their tax incentives, open them to parliamentary and public scrutiny as well as end tax holidays.

“The estimates from studies conducted by Action Aid show that 138 billion dollars is given away by governments in developing countries every year, just in statutory corporate income tax exemptions.

“The corporate tax incentives are purportedly used to attract investment; yet, evidence shows that tax incentives are not required to attract foreign investments in most African countries.

“If such a treaty helps to facilitate illicit financial flow, they should seek to renegotiate or cancel it,” it said.

“Equally, new treaties should be negotiated only if they will give preference to the taxation rights for the developing country partner, and they must have clear definitions and provisions for automatic information exchange,” the group added.

The group also urged African governments to implement measures to stop harbouring illicit finances transferred from the continent and the rest of the developing world by the developed economies.

It further urged African leaders to exit from aid dependency disposition and take full responsibility for the continent’s development by enhancing local capacity for domestic resources mobilisation “through financial inclusion”.

“We urge African countries to demand an inclusive and multilateral global tax reform process in which effective participation of all stakeholders, including civil society, is guaranteed in shaping the new international tax rules,” the group said

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