The 4th International Tax Justice Academy ended with participants from across Africa urging their governments to do more in tracking, stopping and recouping revenues being plundered from the continent through tax evasion and aggressive tax planning.
The event held in Entebbe last week under the theme: “Building the next generation of tax justice champions”, is a training programme launched four years ago by Tax Justice Network-Africa as a Pan-African initiative to bridge an existing knowledge gap on tax justice in Africa.
Its main participants are civil society organisations, trade unions, students, researchers and academics.
After the training, the participants resolved to advocate for accountability, transparency and fairness in matters of taxation and budget, in addition to demanding for measures to plug Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).
According to the report of the high level panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, the continent is losing more than $50b (Shs182 trillion) annually in IFFs.
For the case of Uganda, a conservative estimate of nearly $510m (Shs2 trillion) is lost yearly through illegal activities instigated by multinationals and high profile individuals, some of whom are senior politicians in government.
The report indicates that the amounts lost in the illicit financial flow are mainly through criminal activities such as illegal capital outflows, with the extractive sector being the most highly targeted.
Criminal activities perpetuated by the multinational corporations and some wealthy individuals take the shape of profit-shifting, lack of transparency, financial secrecy, lack of clarity about beneficial ownership and inadequate reporting of payments.
In his submission recently, Mr Tunde Aremu, a policy and campaign co-ordinator at ActionAid Nigeria, said: “We must demand accountability and transparency not just from corporations that are stealing from us but also African leaders for they are also capable of doing the same.”
IFFs activists and the former member of African Parliamentarian Network on Illicit Financial Flows and Tax (APNIFFT), Ms Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala, in her presentation said young Africans have the responsibility to liberate the continent from being bled by the IFFs.
She said: “We are being scavenged by multinationals. It is the responsibility of the young sons and daughters of Africa to galvanise our interest and protect them. And ending of IFFs from Africa should be high up on the agenda.”
For that to happen, the executive director of Tax Justice Network- Africa, Alvin Mosioma believes that the political class needs to be put under sufficient pressure to enforce accountability, transparency and equity in tax collection and budget allocation.
The country director, Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute, the host of the event, Ms Jane Seruwagi Nalunga, in her remarks said tax issues are among the daily struggles of the population.
Ms Nalunga, an expert on trade, tax and investment argues that: “Matters of taxes and related concerns are the same as those of bread and butter. That is how it should be explained to the population.”