Can middle income countries rise up to their citizens’ expectations?

By Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary General on Development[i]

A call for a new social contract

Despite significant economic growth over the past years, middle-income countries (MICs) face increasingly complex challenges related to, among others, a growing demand from their new and still vulnerable middle-classes. As middle-classes have grown in recent decades, so have citizens’ aspirations and demands for quality public goods, better services and a more responsive and transparent state. More educated, better informed, and more connected than ever before, citizens are asking for more voice in public decisions. In parallel, growing aspirations confronted with chronic vulnerability of middle-classes tend to generate frustration and, more and more frequently, social turbulence. Discontent has been erupting for several years in many of these countries, going back to the Arab Spring, with recent examples like Lebanon, and some Latin American countries, including high-income countries like Chile. Today, challenges are exacerbated as the COVID-19 crisis pushes members of the middle class who had previously escaped extreme poverty, back into it. Governments seem increasingly incapable of understanding how people perceive their quality of life.

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Inspectores Fiscales sin Fronteras: ayudar a los países en desarrollo a recuperarse de la crisis del COVID-19

Pascal Saint-Amans, director del Centro de Política y Administración Tributarias de la OCDE


Este blog es parte de una serie sobre cómo afrontar el COVID-19 en los países en vías de desarrollo. Visite la página de la OCDE dedicada al COVID-19 para acceder a los datos, análisis y recomendaciones de la OCDE sobre los impactos sanitarios, económicos, financieros y sociales del COVID-19 en todo el mundo


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Tras la crisis financiera de 2008, los gobiernos se unieron para lograr la transparencia fiscal y enfrentarse a la erosión de la base imponible y el traslado de beneficios. Aquella crisis también inspiró el nacimiento de Inspectores Fiscales sin Fronteras (IFSF), que se tornó en una iniciativa conjunta de la OCDE y el PNUD en la conferencia sobre la Financiación para el Desarrollo, celebrada en Addis Abeba. La iniciativa IFSF ayuda a los países en desarrollo a recaudar los impuestos que les corresponde pagar a las empresas multinacionales, gracias a la convergencia de países que se prestan asistencia mutua para desarrollar su capacidad de auditoría tributaria.

En la actualidad, estamos enfrentando una crisis sanitaria y económica mundial aún mayor, que tendrá importantísimas consecuencias sobre la vida y los medios de subsistencia. El fuerte descenso del comercio mundial e interno está provocando una caída equivalente en los ingresos fiscales, que golpea con dureza a los países más pobres, dada su dependencia del impuesto sobre sociedades. Los países que dependen fuertemente del turismo, la industria hotelera y las remesas procedentes del extranjero sufrirán la peor parte.

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Inspecteurs des Impôts sans frontières : aider les pays en développement à se relever de la crise du COVID-19

M. Pascal Saint-Amans, Directeur du Centre de politique et d’administration fiscales


Ce blog fait partie d’une série sur la lutte contre le COVID-19 dans les pays en voie de développement. Visitez la page dédiée de l’OCDE pour accéder aux données, analyses et recommandations de l’OCDE sur les impacts sanitaires, économiques, financiers et sociétaux de COVID-19 dans le monde.


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Au lendemain de la crise financière de 2008, les États ont uni leurs forces, décidés à lutter pour la transparence fiscale et à entamer la lutte contre l’érosion de la base d’imposition et le transfert de bénéfices. Cette crise a également été à l’origine de l’Initiative Inspecteurs des Impôts sans Frontières (IISF), devenue un projet conjoint de l’OCDE et du PNUD lors de la Conférence d’Addis-Abeba sur le financement du développement. L’Initiative IISF a vocation à aider les pays en développement à percevoir les impôts dus par les entreprises multinationales en permettant aux pays participants de se prêter mutuellement assistance au service du renforcement des capacités en matière de vérification fiscale.

Nous faisons à présent face à une crise sanitaire et économique mondiale plus grave encore, dont les conséquences sur nos vies et nos moyens de subsistance sont profondes. L’effondrement brutal du commerce et des échanges nationaux et internationaux entraîne une chute proportionnelle des recettes fiscales, qui porte un coup particulièrement rude aux pays pauvres du fait qu’ils sont tributaires des impôts sur les bénéfices des sociétés. Ceux qui dépendent fortement du tourisme, de l’hôtellerie et des envois de fonds de leur diaspora sont ceux qui risquent de pâtir le plus de la situation.

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Tax Inspectors Without Borders: ready to assist developing countries recover from COVID-19

By Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


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In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, governments came together to fight for tax transparency and begin the battle against base erosion and profit shifting. It was that crisis that also inspired Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB), which became a joint initiative of the OECD and UNDP at the Addis Finance for Development conference. The initiative helps developing countries to collect the taxes due from multinational enterprises, with countries coming together to assist each other in building tax audit capacity.

We now face an even greater global health and economic crisis, with profound implications for lives and livelihoods. The sharp decline in global and domestic trade and commerce is leading to a commensurate drop in tax revenues, hitting poorer countries hardest due to their reliance on corporate income taxes. Those that depend heavily on tourism, hospitality and remittances from their diaspora may suffer the worst.

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Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco: tax reforms for sustainable health financing

By Céline Colin, Tax Economist, and Bert Brys, Senior Tax Economist, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD

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The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that weaknesses in one country’s health sector can rapidly become a health challenge for other countries. Additionally, as countries around the world, including Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco, face the current economic and health crisis, the sense of urgency to mobilise domestic resources has increased. The crisis has put spending and tax revenues under severe pressure while at the same time requiring increased funding for the health sector. Moreover, the post-COVID-19 period might lead to particular challenges to financing for other ongoing health threats like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as health budgets might be re-prioritised and budget increases might not be allocated to those three particular diseases.

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Côte d’Ivoire et Maroc : réformer la fiscalité pour assurer un financement durable de la santé

Par Céline Colin, Économiste fiscaliste, et Bert Brys, Économiste fiscaliste senior, Centre de politique et d’administration fiscales, OCDE

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La pandémie de COVID-19 a montré que les faiblesses du système de santé d’un pays peuvent rapidement devenir un enjeu de santé publique pour les autres pays. En outre, dans les pays du monde entier aux prises avec la crise sanitaire et économique actuelle, dont la Côte d’Ivoire et le Maroc, l’urgence de mobiliser des ressources intérieures s’est accrue. La crise a mis sous tension les dépenses publiques et les recettes fiscales au moment même où le secteur de la santé avait besoin de financements additionnels. De surcroît, la période post-COVID-19 pourrait entraîner des difficultés particulières pour le financement de la lutte contre d’autres menaces sanitaires, comme le Sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme, car les priorités au sein des budgets de santé pourraient être revues et les augmentations budgétaires ne pas nécessairement bénéficier à la lutte contre ces trois maladies.

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Exchange of tax information: a butterfly effect on domestic resource mobilisation

By Zayda Manatta, Head of the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes

shutterstock_1685161738One small change can make a big difference in the fight against illicit financial flows.

Illicit financial flows (IFFs) deprive developing countries and regions of much-needed resources to finance and achieve their development agendas (e.g. the African Union’s Agenda 2063) and the global Sustainable Development Goals. They prevent countries from raising legitimate revenues essential for financing basic services such as social, educational and healthcare systems, and spurring economic development.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has underlined how vital it is for countries to have well-financed medical infrastructure and efficient healthcare systems. The economic crisis resulting from the health crisis is undermining public finances the world over. While preserving a business climate favourable to economic recovery, long-term post-crisis strategies will likely have to encompass increased domestic revenues. Improving domestic resource mobilisation and advancing the fight against illicit financial flows needs to be at the forefront of developing countries’ political agendas. Continue reading

Building tax systems in developing countries is vital to overcoming COVID-19 and achieving the SDGs

By Ben Dickinson, Head of the Global Relations and Development Division, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD

T&D cover imageThe Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) serve to stimulate action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting lives and livelihoods alike, the question is how will the SDGs be financed?

Domestic resources, primarily tax revenues, provide the vast majority of financing for development – money needed to build roads, schools, hospitals, social protection systems, and other critical services in developing countries. A new report released today, highlights the OECD’s work on building tax systems in developing countries, unlocking a range of tools, experience and expertise to meet the tax challenges of the 21st century. Continue reading

Mind the SDG gap: don’t forget sustainable domestic financing

By Sebastian Nieto Parra, Head of Latin America and the Caribbean Unit, OECD Development Centre, Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre and special Advisor to the OECD Secretary General on Development, and Joseph Stead, Senior Policy Analyst, OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration

 

closing-gapThe “Decade of Delivery” for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls for finding sustainable ways to finance development. Closing the financing gap by 2030 will require between USD5 and USD7 trillion annually, and between USD2.5 and USD3 trillion of that amount for developing countries alone. There are several approaches to financing the SDGs in low-income countries. External private financing and official development assistance both have a role to play but these are not the only options. We must take an in depth-look at all options, including taxes, local financing through domestic private banks or national development banks, and local public-private partnerships. Due to the colossal amount needed to finance the SDGs, they must all be taken into consideration. But some can be particularly costly. Experiences of public-private partnerships in developing and emerging economies for example, have often resulted in high fiscal costs and a high rate of renegotiations after only a few years of operation.
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The role of fiscal policies for sustainability

LJD

By Karen B. Brown, Theodore Rinehart Professor of Business Law, George Washington University Law School


This blog is part of a special series exploring subjects at the core of the Human-Centred Business Model (HCBM). The HCMB seeks to develop an innovative – human-centred – business model
based on a common, holistic and integrated set of economic, social, environmental and ethical rights-based principles. Read more about the HCBM here, and check out an event about it here
The HCBM project originated in 2015 within the World Bank’s Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development and is now based at the OECD’s Development Centre.

development-financeSustainable enterprises seek to marry models for good business practices with principles of economic, social and environmental sustainability, many of which are founded on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These objectives aim to advance human rights, fair wages, healthier and safer working conditions, gender equality, child welfare, environmental protections, and ethical behavior designed to impede corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. The failure to achieve these objectives imposes considerable costs on governments: diminished productivity and quality of life for their constituents, inefficiency in the operation of markets, and reduced economic growth. An important step towards achieving sustainability goals may come through a government’s use of incentives in the fiscal regime.

Governments traditionally use their tax codes to make “tax expenditures” designed to achieve objectives that advance important policy goals or principles. For example, a government may provide a departure from normal tax rules by reducing the capital gains tax and deferring the time for when gains must be reported if a taxpayer invests in certain qualified opportunity zones that are designated low-income communities. In other words, the government is willing to forego the capital gains tax revenue it would otherwise collect in exchange for investment intended to stimulate economic growth in areas where underserved constituents reside. Other examples abound of using tax expenditures to achieve legitimate governmental ends. Consider the following three ways — substantive tax provisions, tax rate reductions and “bright listing ”– that use incentives to encourage the integration of human-centred goals into business practices: Continue reading