Eurodad member ActionAid has launched a report, ‘Calling Time: Why SABMiller should stop dodging taxes in Africa’ revealing how the world’s second biggest brewer uses a complex system of tax havens to siphon profits out of subsidiaries in developing countries, depriving those governments of significant amounts of tax.
According to the report, SABMiller, which makes profits of over £2 billion a year, has paid no income tax in the past two years, but transferred millions of pounds to sister companies in tax havens. ActionAid say that the company is avoiding an estimated £20m of taxes in Africa and India every year – enough money to educate a quarter-of-a-million African children.
The lucrative search for ways to pay less, creating complex corporate structures, routing money through opaque tax havens, and employing highly paid professionals to find loopholes, is legal: indeed, it is so common it is accepted as the normal way of doing business. And it gives multinational companies a distinct advantage over their local competitors.
Ghana has had many social and economic successes in the past 20 years, but it still needs to do more to end poverty. Ghanaian women are 70 times more likely to die in childbirth than those in Britain, and children are 13 times more likely to die before the age of five. One third of the country’s population is infected with malaria each year. There is much Ghana could do with more tax revenue.
ActionAid has launched a campaign demanding that SABMiller stop using tax havens. It says tackling tax avoidance should be a top priority for the company’s corporate responsibility programme.
ActionAid also wants SABMiller to make its tax affairs more transparent by publishing a basic set of accounts in every country in which it operates. This would act as a deterrent to tax dodging as companies currently use tax havens in secrecy and with impunity.
Read the full report here.
Read ActionAid’s press release about the report here.