Article from DAILY NEWSWATCH, Nigeria : ITUC blames Nigeria’s economic deprivation on corruption, others

Keywords : ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS - “STOP THE BLEEDING” Newsletters Human and trade union rights Nigeria

Stories by JIDE AJIA: The International Trade Union Confederation, the world’s largest trade union federation has challenged the alleged economic deprivation in Nigeria, blaming it on corruption and other agents of anti-development.

LINK TO THE ARTICLE: http://www.mydailynewswatchng.com/2014/01/30/ituc-blames-nigerias-economic-deprivation-corruption-others/

These avoidable socio-economic deprivations, according to the group, continued to force millions of Nigerians to go to bed hungry and many others cannot access basic social services.

The basic services such as education, health, portable water, sanitation and nutrition are also strong issues of concerns of development to the group. “Of course, it is the semblance of the socio-economic deprivation realities referred to here that are partly responsible for the non-feasibility of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals achievement timeline.

“Endemic and generational poverty and widening inequality continue to rise and exacerbate harsh and hard effects on households and communities in spite of massive global wealth generated under neo-liberal globalisation,” ITUC said.

Arising from the meeting of the United Nation Leading Group on Alternative Financing for Development held in Abuja and tagged: “A Joint ITUC-Africa and the Nigeria Tax Justice and Governance Platform,” the group explained that the increase in the restiveness of citizens and the growing clamour for governments to provide, promote and guarantee the welfare and well-being of people as against serving the exclusive interest of the market and elites is a clear recipe for instability and chaos.

It added that the increased in global migration by many persons who feel economically hapless will continue in spite of the clear and present dangers associated with such mobility pursuit as evidenced in the Lampendusa and Sahara Desert tragedies.

To tackle socio-economic deprivation, the group suggested that the government should ensure effective implementation of social protection floors as agreed by state parties of the International Labour Organisations, which is one of the effective ways to tackle hunger, want and hardship.

“In essence, governments, especially those in Nigeria and Africa at large must continue to find ways and means to make public services available and accessible to the people. Of course, we are aware that the effective provision of these social services will require considerable financial outlay, which fortunately Africa is not lacking. However, the internal resource mobilisation for Africa’ development continue to be serially and criminally abused,” the union also posited.

While the group appreciates policy initiatives geared towards resource mobilisation through increasing tax liabilities, it demanded that this should not increase the burden of tax on the poor but rather one that places emphasis on reduced incentives and other tax breaks to multinational corporations that undermine the tax revenue of African countries and their ability to develop in a sustainable manner.

According to ITUC, “In particular, ITUC-Africa and TJ&GP Nigeria note with serious concerns that Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) through harmful tax policies and practices such as the operation of tax haven, distorted and wilful concessions, crass tax dodging through mis-pricing (through under and over-invoicing), wilful and criminal default in the true declaration and payment of royalties are seriously undermining genuine development aspirations of nations, particularly those from the Africa and the rest Global South.

“These practices erode the resource mobilisation bases of government needed in the deployment in the fight against endemic poverty and inequality amongst persons, households, communities and economies.”

ITUC-Africa and the TJ&GP Nigeria therefore see this leading group meeting on Alternative Financing for Development being hosted by the Nigerian government as a commendable process, which should be focused to deliver results that ‘our people’ can share and celebrate.

Nonetheless, ITUC expect that this UN meeting will take a strong stand on the urgency and need to redesign and defeat the current banking secrecy rules that continue to make tax haven and other IFF practices attractive.

A recent study by Tax Justice Network, ITUC estimated that over $21 trillion is held offshore account away from the reach of taxation by the super-rich.

However, the union claimed that: “This wealth is held by less than 10 million people, of these, less than 100, 000 people worldwide own $9.8 trillion of wealth held offshore. The report supported our long held argument that effective taxation will make Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) negligible and almost unnecessary. The report showed that if the conservative estimate of $21 trillion is taxed at just 30 per cent, $190 billion will be generated, which is roughly twice what OECD spend annually on ODA around the world.”

The group was confident that the Leading Group will take a positive position with respect to the adoption of Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) as one sure alternative source of financing for development.

“Our position is that a new global financial architecture needs to be developed to regulate the financial market. FTT could be one of the elements of such regulation. Importantly, the effectiveness of the FTT to mobilise the needed funds for financing development has been proven.

“We will continue to monitor and mobilize the people to demand and get transparency and accountability in governance.

Finally, ITUC said it is “Our shared prescription that the rich and wealthy should be effectively taxed, whilst tax administration should be such that defray the burden of taxation away from the poor.”

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