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OECD Countries Help Bend Tax Rules, Even In Africa

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OECD countries and their dependencies are responsible for 68% of global corporate tax
abuse and significant tax revenue loss in Africa despite being global tax rules setters, according to a report.

The 2021 Corporate Tax Haven Index (CTHI 2021) says member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), or their dependencies, take up the top six spots on the ranking of the world’s greatest enablers of
corporate tax abuse.

These are Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (the British Virgin Islands, Cayman, and Bermuda).

Besides, the CHTI 2021 finds OECD countries and their dependencies responsible for 68% of the world’s corporate tax abuse risks.

Yet, most African countries signed double taxation avoidance agreements (DTAA) with some OECD countries or dependencies.

Indeed, Kenya and the Netherlands have a DTAA. Ghana has DTAAs with the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Therefore, OECD countries are great contributors to tax revenue loss from the African continent. Dr Dereje Alemayehu, the executive coordinator of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Global Alliance for Tax Justice, said, “to trust the OECD in light of the index’s findings today is like trusting a pack of wolves to build a fence around your chicken coop.”

This is a further trust deteriorating blow of the OECD group’s ability to tackle the rampant global corporate tax abuse that costs the world $245 billion in lost corporate tax a year.

It also demonstrates that African countries are opening themselves to tax havens’ exploitation.

In fact, the 2021 CTHI shows that Africa holds a 4.15% share of the global corporate tax haven, the bulk of which, 2.3%, owes Mauritius, followed by South Africa (0.45%), Liberia (0.42%) and Seychelles (0.37%).

These three aggressive tax havens offer a zero corporate income tax rate, and all score bad on Category 3 (Transparency) and 4 (Anti-Avoidance). Estimations show that multinational corporations shift 5.4 billion in profits to Mauritius, causing 0.96 billion tax losses to other countries.

Tax Justice Network Africa’s Executive Director, Alvin Mosioma, argues that ‘‘contrary to popular claims, DTAAs signed by African countries with tax havens do not lead to increased investments.

African countries’ efforts to achieve sustainable
development goals will remain a mirage if these countries do not stem Illicit financial flows
and invest in building equitable tax systems.

The OECD held the global tax setting power for 60 years yet faced wide criticism for failure to
deliver meaningful change in its long-awaited tax reform proposals.

Today’s CTHI 2021’s finding reemphasise the once impossible notion of shifting that power to the United Nations with UN tax convention, which the UN High-Level Panel on International Financial
Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) calls for.

Business

Hundreds Of Passengers Miss Flight In Uganda Due To Delayed COVID-19 Tests

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Hundreds of Ugandans have been left stranded at Entebbe International Airport by the Emirates Airways after the laboratory where they had taken their Covid-19 results delayed to return them on time.

In a Snapchat post by Ugandan socialite Sheila Gashumba, she ranted, ‘’When I tell Ugandans that Covid in Uganda is a business they say I have ‘kajanja’.

Now all Emirates passengers have missed their flights because Safari Lab sent Covid results at 2:45pm and Emirates closed its gate at 3pm.

The hospital said it couldn’t work on everyone in the short time.

Around 300 passengers missed their flight yet Safari Lab had made a total of UgSh75m since everyone had paid UGX 250,000 for the test.

In the video where all passengers were visibly angry and frustrated, they can be heard asking for what the solution is and who is going to pay for the tickets again now that those that they had paid for can no longer be used anymore.

Passengers expressed their frustration at the rot in the service.

“I experienced such thing in March as the officers in charge claimed that the gates were close at 1pm as the flight was at 3pm,” one twitter user said.

Some made jokes out of it and asked, if this was because of the US$10 tax that is in the process of being introduced and will be paid by anyone that leaves the country using the Entebbe International Airport.

Another twitter user @kasoxialex2000 asked, ‘’@UgandaCAA (Uganda Civil Aviation Authority), but seriously you guys when you move to some airports don’t you copy something? Why are we ever backwards??? Stop embarrassing us. Who will save Uganda’’
By press time there was no official communication from the Civil Aviation Authority, Safari Lab nor Emirates Airways.

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Kagame Tells Bankers, Banking Can’t Just Be “Service For Elites”

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Banking can’t just be a service for elites, President Paul Kagame has said.  He made the remarks while speaking at the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference in Nigeria that he attended virtually.

Running under the theme, ‘’Economic Recovery, Inclusion and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance’’, the two-day conference will aim at the need to reposition the Finance and Banking sector as a catalyst for Economic recovery, transformation and inclusive growth.

In his remarks, he noted how the Covid pandemic has affected every aspect of Africa’s economies but at the same time also presents an opportunity for African banks to play a leading role in making societies more resilient and more responsive to the needs of Africans.

‘’Whatever affects business, affects banking. Financial services are the engine of private sector development. Banks are crucial for allocating capital wisely and productively,’’ he further added.

President Kagame noted that, in order to stay competitive, there is need to keep integrating new technology into banking to increase financial inclusion and access as banking can’t just be a service of elites.

He also went ahead to reemphasize what he has always said when it comes to African states always depending on the West and other countries for support. ‘’Indeed, Africa has the resources to fund its own economic growth and reduce dependence on external resources,’’ he said.

Kagame also noted that the African Continental Free Trade Area is creating new opportunities for Pan African Trade and investment. ‘’Banks with continental reach, like several of the institutions represented here can lead the way in cementing economic integration.’’

As he concluded, he stated how the banking sector, more than any other, understands the importance of integrity and good customer service. ‘’Banking is ultimately about trust. We look to you to set the pace in this regard. Our role as governments is to maintain good enabling environments, protecting both shareholders and customers while allowing for innovation. We expect you to keep challenging us on this,’’ he said.

In attendance at the same conference was the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Edwin Emefiele who made a huge announcement.  He said, ‘’Central Bank, will, in the next twelve months be establishing the Nigerian International Financial Centre (NIFC). The NIFC will act as an international gateway for capital and investments, driven by technology and payment system infrastructure.’’

In Rwanda, current statistics show that even though there are still various challenges that continue to put women behind men when it comes to financial inclusion, the number of women who are currently banked have risen from 24% in 2016 to 34% in 2021.

This is according to a FinScope 2020 Gender thematic report on the state of women financial inclusion in Rwanda that was supported by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR).

In one of the Focus Notes from Access to Finance Rwanda, farmers reported that women and men enjoy equal rights and treatment at specified two Financial institutions in the Focus note and therefore no special gender based treatment yet the outcomes of each groups are not equal.

At both Financial Institutions, women and youths are more likely to use loans to hire land farm as they lack access to land and they have been assisted by addressing some of the barriers that women and youth face in accessing loans.

The conference will therefore focus on how banking can be a service enjoyed by all Africans regardless of their financial strengths through making access to finance for development is an easy and smooth process.

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400K Coffee Farmers To Adopt Cashless System

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About 400,000 coffee farmers in Rwanda are being targeted to embrace a cashless payment system facilitated by Bank of Kigali.

On Friday, Bank of Kigali through IKOFI integration with Smart Kungahara System (SKS) said it expected to serve more than 300 coffee washing stations, with a target market size of more than 400,000 coffee farmers.

“Through our partnership with RWACOF, we enabled coffee farmers to embrace cashless means of payment. We believe in digital transformation for everybody including farmers. These telephones will significantly help famers to adopt a more digital lifestyle,”said ⁦⁦Diane Karusisi the CEO Bank of Kigali.

According to BK, currently, 1,767 agro dealers and 263,691 farmers are active IKOFI wallet users benefiting from the service by digitally paying for their agro-inputs through mobile phones, conveniently paying for other services such as Irembo, RRA, WASAC, all done through *334*2#.

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