Corporate tax avoidance costs Africa €10 billion, says Oxfam

AID agency Oxfam International claims African nations were deprived of 11 billion US dollars – nearly €10 billion – through manoeuvres used by huge multinational companies to reduce their tax bills.
Oxfam’s report Africa: Rising for the Few, released earlier this week, found that measures to evade tax cost continents more than six times the amount needed to fund gaps in healthcare provision in the four countries worst affected by Ebola – Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.
The charity argues that a reform of international tax laws is of vital importance if African nations are to maintain economic improvements seen in recent years.
Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International’s executive director, said: “Africa is haemorrhaging billions of dollars because multinational companies are cheating African governments out of vital revenues by not paying their fair share in taxes. If this tax revenue were invested in education and healthcare, societies and economies would further flourish across the continent.”
The method highlighted by the agency is ‘trade mispricing’ – whereby a company sets an artificial price for goods or services which are traded between the company’s own subsidiaries – which Oxfam says saved multinationals US$11 billion in 2010, the most recent year for which there is data. Data has come from the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

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