ActionAid has called on governments across the world to step up their efforts to stamp out tax avoidance, advising the Nigerian Government particularly to put in place measures that will ensure that proceed of corruption are not wired into foreign accounts and used to purchase property outside the country.
The group was reacting to the Pandora Papers’ leak, which revealed yet again the extensive use of tax havens and tax secrecy by the economic and political elite.
A statement issued yesterday by ActionAid called on various governments in the world to step up their efforts to stamp out tax avoidance.
The statement read: “Five years have passed since the Panama Papers which exposed the dodgy tax dealings of a Panama-based law firm and its clients, and eight years since the G20 mandated the BEPS process intended to end tax avoidance and satisfy people’s demands for tax justice and fairness.
“Billionaires increased their wealth by $3.9trillon in the first year of the pandemic, while global workers lost earnings of $3.7trillon. With inequality still rising exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, nations need fair and progressive tax rules more than ever.”
The statement quoted the Secretary General of ActionAid International, Julia Sánchez, to have said: “It is totally unacceptable for governments to claim they can’t afford healthcare, quality education or a green transition away from polluting fossil fuels, when they are allowing such vast resources to be looted by wealthy elites and corrupt politicians. These dodgy practices are facilitated by banks and the financial sector which serve as the guardians of secrecy in tax havens.
“The Pandora Papers are set to expose further tax scandals, featuring decision-makers using shoddy tax havens, and more loopholes in tax legislation that politicians will pretend are mistakes to be rectified, rather than being there by design. This highlights more than ever the need for serious action on tax justice, including improved tax transparency.”
On her part, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, in the statement noted that: “From Nigeria alone, it is estimated that in the last three decades, 179 million pounds was carted out of the country to offshore accounts. Part of this wealth was used to purchase 233 property in the United Kingdom. Not only does 179 million pounds represent wealth that would have potentially been taxed in Nigeria, but it represents the much-needed capital that Nigeria lost to offshore accounts. What is even more worrisome is that the Pandora papers exposed that it is the most influential Nigerians and government officials that have been at the forefront of this capital flights.”