Action Aid Zambia country director Pamela Chisenga has caught up with British Prime Minister David Cameroon and told him how much tax avoidance was hurting developing countries like Zambia.
Cameroon is the chairperson of this year’s G8.
Chisenga is in UK at the venue of the G8 summit and have been working alongside many organisations that are part of the Enough Food IF campaign that has brought together close to 200 organisations in the UK to highlight the fact that poor countries lose three times more to tax havens than they receive in aid every year
On Tuesday morning Chisenga told British Prime minister Cameroon that she was worried that the G8 Leaders were going to agree a deal on tax dodging that shuts out developing countries.
On Monday, 17th June 2013, Chisenga had the opportunity of meeting UK Prime Minister David Cameron in person. She told him how much tax avoidance was hurting developing countries, and the need to any tax deal agreed at the G8 to include developing countries. She asked him to ensure that developing countries were included in automatic exchange of information on tax dodgers that will ensure that countries like Zambia realise optimal revenues from investments of multinational companies operating in Zambia.
Reflecting on the on-going G8 summit, Chisnga wondered, if for once, there would be any message of hope that she would be bringing back to Zambia for women like Caroline Muchanga, a market stall holder who has paid more tax in absolute terms than the big British multinational company that she lives next to.
On Tuesday, David Cameron announced the commitments made by G8 leaders, which alluded to the need to include developing countries in global tax reforms, including participation in automatic exchange of information.
But Chisenga says, while this is an achievement, the pronouncements from the Prime Minister fall short of what she and other campaigners expected.
She said the G8 has failed developing countries by not completely removing secrecy on beneficial or ‘true’ ownership of companies.
‘I have been overwhelmed by how many ordinary people in the UK have participated in various activities to call upon their government and the G8 to act decisively on tax,’ Chisenga told the Watchdog.
‘On Saturday, 8th June, I participated in a mammoth IF rally that was attended by 45 000 people that came out in support of the IF campaign. This, and other activities undertaken by thousands of campaigners and supporters in the UK over the last 18 months made it possible to put the issue of taxation on the agenda of the G8.
‘As many have said, we are on the foothills of the tax mountain, we need to push forward to ascend quickly to the summit of this mountain. People in Zambia must come out to support this agenda that will ensure that we as a country benefit from the investments of multinational companies in our country. This is not a political agenda’