The Asia Days of Action on Tax Justice starts today with progressive groups in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines, across different sectors, holding rallies, solidarity gathering, seminars, and photo actions. This is an initiative by the Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia (TAFJA) and the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) – members of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) – with other partner civil society organisations.
The tax justice groups demand changes and reforms in tax and fiscal systems, asking governments and the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to take action by ending unjust tax burdens on the poor, fairly and sharply taxing the wealth and income of corporations and the elite, ensuring taxes are used to meet people’s basic needs. They also call on the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to take decisive action to end corporate tax abuses and adopt a UN Tax Convention that promotes and protects the interests and taxing rights of all countries, not just elite countries of the Global North.
This year, the 77th UN General Assembly is meeting on 13-27 of September and will be tackling the issues of ‘interlocking challenges’, acknowledging that problems and crises such as climate change and complications brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic are coming from the same roots.
Tax justice groups believe that a backward taxing and fiscal system is one of these challenges. Farooq Tariq of the Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee said, “While people are dying from the calamity that struck Pakistan, taxes from basic utilities and services are rising. The total price of electricity has tripled.”
In Delhi, a “Ride for Fair Tax” is planned by domestic women workers’ groups.
Philippine groups in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Tacloban, will protest against unjust tax burdens on workers and marginalised sectors and call attention to policies that favor big business especially the mining industry, amid growing economic insecurity among ordinary people. In Metro Manila activists will hold their activity in front of the Department of Finance.
“We call on governments and the international community to adopt a progressive tax and fiscal system that would not be prone to abuse by the elite and that would truly serve people’s needs” says Jeannie Manipon of the APMDD, one of the leading groups in the movement. She adds: “The taxing and fiscal systems in Asia are largely regressive, with worst impacts borne by women and marginalized sectors. When the pandemic struck, amidst the crises of health and food, governments prioritized the business sector in so-called economic recovery programs, rather than peoples’ basic needs.”
Workers, women, and urban poor communities march towards the Philippine Department of Finance.
The protest action calls for the repeal of anti-poor tax policies such as VAT and excise taxes, pushing for a #WealthTax to fund public services for a genuine #PeoplesRecovery! pic.twitter.com/6FwnFNHb1x
— APMDD (@AsianPeoplesMvt) September 23, 2022
In a statement released today, APMDD stressed that economies around the world must be restructured and reoriented away from servicing the profit-driven agendas of MNCs and wealthy elites and towards serving people’s basic needs and rights and ensuring that development’s social and economic benefits are distributed equitably. Women’s contribution to economic and social life must be fully recognized and justly rewarded. A Peoples’ Recovery must seek to socialize and redistribute the often-unrecognized reproductive labor of women. The care and wellbeing of society should not be borne in private by any single gender, but by all of society.
APMDD states that “The fundamental flaws in the international tax architecture and in global tax rulemaking that disadvantage developing countries and impact negatively on the peoples of the Global South must be fixed. Elite and gender biases embedded in national fiscal and tax systems, as well as in the global tax system, must be corrected. Ensuring peoples’ recovery and building resilience require thoroughgoing policy, institutional and structural reforms that favor the interests of ordinary people and the planet, not the wealthy. We need fiscal and tax systems that contribute to ending inequalities and building people’s resilience. We need an inclusive and transformative peoples’ recovery!”
In an earlier report, Tax Justice Network (TJN) said that due to illicit financial flows, there is an estimated combined global revenue loss around US$483 billion every single year. This amount could vaccinate everyone in the world three times over. TJN pointed out that the pandemic has revealed the vast inequalities that has enveloped the world through the regressive taxing system, with the poor getting poorer and rich getting extremely wealthier.
Data shows that during the pandemic, the ten richest men doubled their wealth while the rest of the world’s income took a hit. Report notes that since 1995, the world’s top one-percent has 20-times more wealth compared to the world’s bottom 50 percent.
Read the full statement
For more information, please contact: Becky Lozada +63 917 5362638