A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
G20 leaders have committed to a global deal to share tax information automatically, and set a deadline for G20 countries to implement this by the end of 2015.
They did not announce when developing countries will be part of this automatic exchange of information deal – which means that it is not clear when they will start to benefit from this new system.
The G20 endorsed the OECD’s action plan to stop profit shifting by international companies but did not commit to any way for developing countries to engage in the process of negotiating new tax rules.
African nations lose nearly 2 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of companies fiddling the books through ‘trade mispricing’, which is one type of corporate tax dodging. This huge tax loss is equivalent to more than half the amount that governments spend on health in Sub Saharan Africa.
Oxfam’s Carlos Zarco said: “The G20 have put their first nail in the coffin of corporate tax dodging, but they've given no guarantees how or when the rip-off of the poorest countries will stop. Developing countries have had warm words from the richest countries before, so this time must be different. They deserve a seat at the table when global tax rules are rewritten, because it is their citizens whose lives are on the line.'
Carlos Zarco said: “Oxfam welcomes the announcement of increased humanitarian aid for the Syria crisis response. We urge that this funding be released immediately. With 2 million refugees and 4 million people displaced inside Syria, aid is desperately needed to provide life-saving assistance.
“Given the increasingly protracted nature of the Syria conflict, G20 donors also need to give long-term support to countries neighboring Syria who are hosting large numbers of refugees.
“Oxfam is deeply disappointed that G20 leaders squandered this chance to make progress towards a political solution to the crisis in Syria. The humanitarian suffering caused by the crisis is staggering. More than 100,000 lives have been lost.
“Instead of debating military action which will only make the situation worse, leaders need to put aside their differences and intensify efforts to stop the bloodshed, before Syria is destroyed and the region further destabilized.”
The G20 need to take the lead to reduce inequality. Oxfam has calculated that the income of the top hundred billionaires globally is enough to end extreme poverty four times over. Oxfam is calling for the G20 to track the growing inequality gap between the richest and poorest, to pursue further policies to crack down on tax dodging, and to promote increased public spending on health, education and social protection.
Oxfam’s Carlos Zarco said: “Leaders have failed entirely to confront the growing problem of income inequality. Rich companies and individuals are getting fat whilst ordinary families struggle, and if the G20 don’t tackle this issue head-on, they will fail to set the economic agenda the world needs.”
Notes to editors
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