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Crunch time for the OECD’s new aid rules?

Polly Meeks

25 Apr 2017 10:12:03

Blink and you might miss it: but a seemingly low-key meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) officials this week could signal one of the biggest changes in decades to the way that donors think about aid.  That’s because tomorrow’s meeting [April 26] could be decision time on the rules governing ‘private sector instruments’ (PSIs). The proposed rule changes would allow donors to count more of their investment in, and other support to, private sector companies as aid, if those companies are doing business in developing countries, and if certain conditions are met.  Civil society, from both North and South, has been warning of risks in these proposed changes for months. To be clear: our concerns aren’t ...

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IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings: drifting off course as multilateralism faces headwinds.

Bodo Ellmers, Maria Romero

25 Apr 2017 09:05:58

The 2017 spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank, which also included the second edition of the Global Infrastructure Forum, took place against the uncertainty generated by geopolitical changes such as the election of President Trump in the US and the formalisation of the UK’s exit from the European Union. A draft budget proposal by President Trump, released in the run-up to the Spring Meetings, overshadowed last week's discussions as it suggests that instead of getting a capital increase, the World Bank will experience a substantial cut in its funding from its main shareholder. Meanwhile, civil society organisations (CSOs) voiced their concerns about how far the Bretton Woods Institutions are from serving development objectives. Systematic and concerned focus on private finance. ...

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Eight reasons why public country by country reporting is good for business in Europe

Jasper De Meyer

20 Apr 2017 10:58:31

It’s not just tax transparency campaigners and citizens who want public country by country reporting (CBCR). Businesses and investors are increasingly in favour too. Here’s why:  1. To level the playing field between SMEs and large multinationals. SMEs frequently only operate in one country and are not able to engage in profit-shifting between tax jurisdictions to reduce their taxes, and as a consequence face a higher tax bill compared to their competitor multinationals. According to the European Commission’s impact assessment, cross-border companies in the EU are estimated to pay on average 30 per cent less tax than similar firms active in only one country. Public CBCR would help to level the playing field between MNCs and SMEs, and in turn enhance SMEs’ capacity to support growth ...

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One year after the Panama Papers, the EU’s drive for increased financial transparency risks falling short

Jasper De Meyer

06 Apr 2017 14:41:31

On the morning of 4 April 2016, exactly one year ago, citizens around the world woke up to yet another shocking tax scandal. The leaking of 11.5 million confidential documents from Mossack Fonseca showed how the Panamanian law firm helped its clients through the use of offshore anonymous company and trust structures to launder money, dodge sanctions and evade taxation. In the weeks which followed, the Panama Papers put the issue of anonymous company ownership high on the international agenda. The European Commissioner responsible for taxation, Pierre Moscovici, said that the use of offshore companies in order to hide financial assets from tax authorities was “immoral, unethical and, in one word, unacceptable”. He said that the EU had “a duty” to act and put an end to the kind of tax ...

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France passes law to clip vulture funds’ wings

Eurodad

06 Apr 2017 11:29:52

This blog by Tim Jones (Jubilee Debt Campaign) was originally published by Jubilee Debt Campaign Companies prevented from seeking large profits on debts they bought when a government could not pay. France has passed a law to prevent vulture funds or other creditors from seeking large profits on a debt they bought cheaply. The law protects countries in the global South from having their assets seized by creditors who bought debt when they were in, or near default, if the default was less than four years ago, or if two-thirds of holders of the debt have accepted a restructuring. The law only applies to debts bought since the law came into force on 11 December 2016. In 2010 the UK parliament passed a law preventing vulture funds or any other creditor suing one of 40 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries ...

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Why the Panama Papers' birthday is no cause for celebration

Tove Ryding

03 Apr 2017 15:08:29

Happy birthday Panama Papers! Today [April 3] marks one year since billions of dollars stashed away in secret bank accounts suddenly saw the light of day when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published findings from over 11 million leaked documents. Overnight, politicians, corporate leaders and celebrities found their dirty laundry exposed on front pages around the world. Despite the name, Panama Papers was not just about Panama. The tax services offered by law firm Mossack Fonseca had been used by wealthy clients all around the world, and the scandal had links to over 20 different tax havens. Panama Papers was not the first scandal either – in recent years we’ve seen numerous examples of large multinational corporations and wealthy individuals dodging taxes. ...

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PPPs lead to dangerous debts for developing countries — it’s time for the World Bank to act

Maria Romero, Mathieu Vervynckt

01 Mar 2017 16:26:56

This blog was originally published on Devex. For many years, public-private partnerships have been promoted by governments and financial institutions as a way to pay for development projects such as roads, schools and hospitals. The World Bank is at the forefront of this push and advises governments on how to structure their PPPs. But it also ignores civil society campaigners’ concerns about the dangerous hidden debts that PPP projects can lead to. The European Network on Debt and Development, and more than 75 nongovernmental organizations and trade unions from all over the world, will not participate in the World Bank’s public consultations on PPPs until this dangerous problem is tackled. What are PPPs? PPPs are agreements in which the private sector essentially replaces governments ...

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Three changes the OECD needs to make to guard the poorest in new aid rules

Jeroen Kwakkenbos, Jesse Griffiths

20 Feb 2017 12:56:01

Originally published by Devex It has been a busy couple of years for the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, the body in charge of determining what can and cannot be counted as “aid” to poor countries, or official development assistance. Major changes to aid have already been made during a year-long process of modernization of the ODA rules, but the biggest change in decades is yet to come. This March, the DAC will decide on how to include what are known as private sector instruments in aid. This could mean a dramatic increase in the use of aid to invest in or give loans to private companies, or to agree to bail out failed private sector projects through guarantees. Without strong safeguards and transparency standards there is a real risk that aid could be used as a backdoor subsidy ...

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Money has been flowing out of developing countries for over a decade: UN report

Jesse Griffiths

09 Feb 2017 11:26:34

Here is the dramatic graph from the United Nation’s annual stocktake of the world economy – the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report. After crunching all the numbers, the UN’s top finance experts calculate that, in net terms (finance inflows minus finance outflows), developing countries as a whole have been exporting money to the developed world at least since 2004. Of course, as the graph above shows, there are variations among countries, and regions – notably East and South East Asia, but this is a pretty dramatic conclusion – though not out of line with Eurodad’s own number crunching a couple of years ago.  How do they make this calculation? The first important point is that they are only counting what they call ‘financial flows’, which excludes ODA ...

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Information exchange needs to go beyond tax

Eurodad

26 Jan 2017 14:16:42

This blog was originally published by Tax Justice Network How to improve the Automatic Exchange of Information Automatic exchange of information (AEOI) is one of the hottest topics in the fight against tax evasion. The idea is that tax authorities will automatically exchange information about tax payers with financial assets in their jurisdictions. So, if someone from Spain has a bank account in the Cayman Islands, the Cayman Island authorities will, if many conditions are met, automatically inform the Spanish tax authorities.  We have generally welcomed this development, but we have also warned about many loopholes, especially those which prevent access to information by developing countries. For this reason, TJN sent a survey to more than 100 jurisdictions asking their views about how ...