ActionAid demands countries close tax loopholes for big business in order to fund education

ActionAid will call for an overhaul of the tax system to provide the funding needed for education at an international conference today.

Its demands are based on a new report, A Taxing business: Scaling-up domestic resources for financing SDG 4. It highlights that developing countries will never get the money they need for education when tax revenues remain so low, keeping these countries and their citizens in a perpetual cycle of poverty.

The charity is taking this message to The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference, taking place in Dakar today and tomorrow.

Adriano Campolina, Secretary General of ActionAid International says that getting adequate education funding is directly linked to tax justice. He said: “Developing countries are giving away $138 billion every year in what the IMF call ‘harmful tax incentives’. If 20 per cent of that lost revenue was spent on education, we could make actual progress in getting every child into school.

“Financing from aid plays a role but it is too short term and unpredictable to finance quality public services like education.

“Take Pakistan – a country with over 5.5 million children not in school. It gives $4 billion a year away in tax breaks, 20 per cent of that amount would be more than enough to give every one of those children an education and would enable the government of Pakistan to employ 100,000 more teachers.”

ActionAid also issued a call for all big businesses who want to make a contribution to education to make a first step by putting their tax affairs in order, paying their fair share of tax in each country in which they operate.

ActionAid has been campaigning for tax justice for a decade and the charity’s global campaign “TaxPower” has been active since 2011. Detailed research on the link between tax justice and education justice has been undertaken by ActionAid in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Malawi, Nepal and Pakistan. In every country it was found that small steps to address tax justice could lead to massive steps in financing for education.

 

ENDS

Editors' notes

ActionAid International will be hosting a high level panel on Education and Tax Justice on February 1st at the GPE Financing Conference in Dakar.

ActionAid International Secretary General, Adriano Campolina, and Head of Public Services and Civic Participation, David Archer, will both be available for interview.

Please contact Ravneet Ahluwalia (ravneet.ahluwalia@actionaid.org/+44 (0) 7850 312438) for more information or to arrange interviews.