SOMO and ActionAid have joined forces to bring about a more transparent and fairer worldwide tax system. Indra Römgens (SOMO researcher) and Sarah Wionga (tax justice advisor with ActionAid Uganda) explain what makes the partnership between these two organisations so important.
Large scale tax abuse around the world is undermining the ability of government to raise sufficient tax revenues for development. These are serious issues that organisations are often unable to resolve on their own. Sarah: “That’s why our partnership is so important. We try to raise our voices in unison and put a worldwide movement in motion in order to tackle the current tax system and make it fairer.”
SOMO and ActionAid share the same mission. Sarah: “We want to see more mandatory transparency of multinational corporations and governments. There are loopholes in today’s tax regulations that need to be closed, so that tax dodging by multinational will be stopped.” ActionAid Uganda’s Tax Power Campaign is a good example of a campaign that contributes to this.
Sarah stresses that SOMO and ActionAid’s network has grown larger and stronger with the partnership. In addition to producing joint research and business case studies, the joint lobby should ensure that important players will listen to SOMO and ActionAid. ActionAid Netherlands, ActionAid Zambia and SOMO visited the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs last year to discuss the tax treaty between the two countries. Beforehand, an internal briefing on the Zambia-Netherlands tax treaty was drafted in cooperation with ActionAid in the UK, Zambia and Netherlands. The briefing was presented to the Ministry of Finance and discussed during the meeting.
Last year, SOMO went to Thessaloniki to share its preliminary results on tax avoidance by a mining company in Greece. ActionAid Zambia joined SOMO during this meeting in Greece and presented their research and advocacy experience on tax avoidance issues in the Zambian extractive industry. ActionAid Zambia’s insights showed that despite different countries, the same issues often arise. In that way people and organisations in Greece and Zambia, although from different continents, can benefit from each other’s experiences in holding mining companies accountable. Indra: “With all the knowledge we have on both parties, we can do in-depth research that reflects a variety of perspectives. This will increase the chance of success in attaining our shared goal.”