Governments –including the US – must do more to stop tax abuse
In response to the latest Panama Papers leak that exposes how Africa is being deprived billions of dollars in natural resource revenues due to offshore deals, Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said:
“This latest scandal focuses on the billions Africa is losing out on due to the wide use of shell companies, as exposed by the great work of the ICIJ. Tax havens are inflicting huge damage on some of the world’s poorest people. Wealthy individuals and companies are using tax havens to cheat Africa out of billions of dollars in revenues every year and it simply has got to stop.
"This money is desperately needed to invest in healthcare, education and jobs on a continent where 1 in 12 children die before their fifth birthday, 34 million children are not in primary school and 40 million young Africans are out of work.
"Despite all the rhetoric, governments are just not doing enough to stop illicit flows, tax evasion and tax avoidance. Governments must stop tinkering with the tax system as it needs to be overhauled. They can start improving it by ending the financial secrecy that enables rich individuals and international companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax and by putting a stop to the damaging race to the bottom on corporate tax.”
In the US, Tatu Ilunga, Oxfam’s Senior Policy advisor on tax and extractive industries, added:
“The extractives industry has been shown to be a hugely corrupting influence at the heart of many of these scandals. The industry is exploiting Africa’s natural resources but giving little or nothing back. As a result some of Africa’s most resource rich countries are also its poorest and most unequal.
“A bipartisan bill in the US Congress -- the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act – would bring sunshine to the secret shell companies that criminals, despots, and corrupt officials use to hide their money right here in the United States. The widening Panama Papers scandal shows how urgently we need Congress to pass these common sense reforms.”