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AFMA 2017 9 —13 October

Sponsored by FEMNET, Rutgers Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, OSISA, UN Women and Christian Aid

By: Tandi Pilani

Official opening of AFMA & FEMNET

Day 1 Human Rights principles and obligations and the relationship to macro-economics : Radhika Balakrishnan and James Heintz

Welcome by Themba Kalua,UN Women

Gender equality and women’s empowerment should be at the centre of various places of the sector plans

Gender responsive budgeting

Affirmative procurement

Data and statistics

Gender equality advocates need to understand the language issues that we are talking about

Dinah

The decision to focus on this made at AWID 2012, in Istanbul, Turkey.

The strategic planning started in 2013. Funds were sought and partnerships made.

Christine Musisi former UN Ex Director for East Africa UN Women was excited about the opportunity. All partners were acknowledged, OSISA, Christian Aid recently held a similar training for grassroots US organisations.

Maximum available resources

When does a government borrow money?
Austerity measures –example is structural adjustment programs. These programs disadvantage women greatly. The program in the late 80s and 90s had such a negative impact and developing countries still have not recovered from this.

The IMF offers loans. Tanzania does a cost benefit analysis rather than just accepting loans.

Cutting expenditure – Economic policy is not gender blind but male biased.

Fiscal Policy 

Break-out session – Southern Africa

In order to achieve gender equality the expenditure must be related. Disaggregated data is necessary to understand the economy of the State with which we are dealing

This will immediately highlight any gender equality based issues.

We need to identify our specific timeframes – identify the development plans [clear plans] . All the other policies must be based on the fiscal policy.

Common issues

  • Infrastructure (electricity and water) for development
  • Health
  • Education
  • Low income housing

Revenue

Prioritise having internal sources of revenue without imposing high taxes.

Capacity building is essential at an industry level indicating clearly to them than paying bribes.

What do governments spend on expenditure over time – 1981 to 2016

A comment was made that the government does not tell you much about the gvt in relation to the investments – CSOs need to demand budget report expenditure.

Maximum Available Resources and household resources

  1. Recognise
  2. Reduce ( unpaid care work and give more access to water and technology)
  3. Redistribute within family and within the State
  4. Resource – this 4th R is very important

Measure the amount of time it takes for woment to travel to hospitals etc. A good infrastructure system can help reduce the amounts of unpaid care work.

Women in mining environments are affected therefore timely surveys are very important  - Industrial Strategies

Day 2 Monetary Policy and Financialisation Radhika and James

Reflections on Day 1

Radhika announced that she will meet with the Special Rapporteur on Debt on the 9th. Please share your thoughts.

Zambia

Govt are borrowing for the infrastructure projects.

Linkages between different forms of oppression

Down up approach is also important

Concessions

Overseas development assistance (ODA) – Radhika

  • Bilateral agreements
  • Humanitarian aid
  • ODA tied to inputs of consultants

Aspects of monetary policy. Private banks borrow from central banks.

Definition of a bond = it is a contract simplified

Micro-finance

Impacts of the policy are not gender neutral

Eg Zimbabwe went to central banks as they could not go to other sources of money.

Bond markets within communities – small holder women and agriculture

Kenyan people can buy ordinary bonds, making the bond market more competitive.

Question was asked on whether or not the govt benefits from giving bonds?

Response: the banking sector acts like a monopoly/ commercial banks.

Bonds and the interest rates explained. The bond is an IOU.

Exchange rate

Central banks can intervene to make a fixed exchange rate in EUR

Exchange rates do not necessarily reflect the wealth of a country.

Political instability makes foreign investors reluctant thus reducing the value of the exchange rates.

Zambia –  example

Mining products exported in USD – then they keep it overseas. We are deluded that mining is making some money when in fact no money is being made.

Buying govt bonds is a good way to invest.

From a gender lens perspective you don’t want a depreciating value currency (especially rapidly depreciating). If a country employs a large number of women you do not want a depreciating currency.

Monetary Policy & Human Rights

Right to food (importing) influence by exchange rates.

Money markets

Financialisation

Food prices increased between 2002 -2005. Energy became very expensive

Futures contract – fixing pricing to sell at some time in the future.

Maize – financial and food crises are connected.

Maastricht Principles – read them (good reference tool)

Forthcoming meetings

Oct- Beg meeting mobilising

Nov- Business and Human Rights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3

Know your power

  • Political will
  • Point of view/ job passion
  • Double speak
  • Judging – redirecting the agenda
  • Denial
  • Global rights versus regional rights
  • Competition
  • Equal rights
  • Patronizing
  • Ideology
  • Voice (one that is knowledgeable and capacitated)
  • Technical capacity

 

Right to food from a tax perspective

Capital gains tax – allows you to control the price of houses

Taxation exists within your geographical location

Double taxation

  • Alternative mechanisms on financing the right to health
  • Austerity measures hit hardest by tax

Earmarking tax

  • Emma Kaliya raised the point about those in the informal sector making more money and not paying tax.

The petroleum fuel levy goes towards maintaining the roads

Toll – is used to build the roads. So paying both the toll and petroleum levy means paying twice.

Zim/SA perspective – there is no clarity/transparency

South Africa example – the roads are paid for but the people do not know their rights. The tax area is not understood by many. How do we get information out there to empower the people?

The different levels of taxation need to be understood. No debate on the nature of taxes and the level of taxation. The Minister of Finance rushes through the document. Our legislation is letting us down.

Forms of taxation

Institutional and distributive issues

Progressive tax: Higher income households pay a larger tax to redistribute income

Regressive tax: Hinders the lower income households. The distinction between the two is very important.

Language/translation will help those in small holder farms.

Engagement with tax authorities – freedom of information campaigns / human rights entry points# taxation

Tax data should be protected.

Illicit financial flows

MDGs did not adequately address girls issues.

Benchmarks of human dignity

The biggest smelter in the world is in Solwezi, Zambia

Zambia #case study mining – a political and human rights issue

  • People were displaced
  • Taxed heavily
  • No real action taking place

Day 4

Ilicit financial flows and gender

  • Western system
  • Chinese system
  • Slightly communist system

Global level

  • UN and other bodies
  • IMF
  • World Bank
  • Bank of international settlement

Every country comes with an understanding of what the economy should be

Groups / Regional institutes

  • OECD
  • G8/ 20/30
  • G77 (developing country side)
  • G24
  • AU
  • ADB
  • ACHPR / ACHPRI
  • AML grouping (anti- money laundering)

Economic blocks – EAL/SADC/ COMESA/ ECOWAS

Philanthropy comes with a price.

Private influence

  • Corporations
  • Trust
  • Credit rating agencies
  • IASB
  • Professional bodies
  • Lobbies

Instruments

  • Cash
  • Barter
  • Goods
  • Services
  • Receipts
  • Futures (stock exchange, wheat exchange) gold, silver, exchanges. Carbon exchanges. Future stock exchanges destabilise the economy.
  • The WTO allows you to control
  • Policies can also do a lot of damage
  • Ommission/action

 

Taxation and Equality

Does Africa have household income tax?

Informal economy – they actually do pay tax, despite the assumption that they do not.

Tax avoidance – deducting pension before they do it

Tax evasion – not paying VAT and taking it in cash. Some countries do this and others do not.

Tax planning – taking expenditure writing in a certain way.

Aggressive tax planning is borderline tax evasion.

Over 90 different countries in the world that are documented.

SAB Miller report – Dr Attiya Waris advised all to refer to the report

Actors

  • People
  • Consumers
  • Sellers / service providers
  • Professional services
  • State officials
  • International institution employees
  • Corporate employees
  • Men, women and children are tax payers too

Customs databases are sometimes said to collapse, it was highlighted that this at times is conveniently done, i.e  the plug is pulled deliberately (corruption associated with customs).

There are formal and informal systems.

Women suffer the most within banking systems.

Mbeki Report

The High Level Panel report is the first one in Africa https://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/PublicationFiles/iff_main_report_26feb_en.pdf   talks extensively about the tax base that is being eroded.

Tax is sovereign

Transfer pricing

Scenario – flowers produced in Kenya are flown to Dubai for “transfer processing”  in order to avoid paying tax.  The flower pickers work under precarious conditions, starting work as early as 4am and working until 12 midnight. Monthly earnings - 40USD a month.

Only 18 countries in Africa have legislation for transfer pricing

The data in the Mbeki Report has not been countered. The international organisations such as the World Bank and the IMF cannot counter the data. N. B that this data only assesses ” trade mis-pricing”.

We need to understand that our own institutions are also responsible for transfer pricing.

A conversation took place on country by country taxation and a point was made that international accounting firms like KPMG and Pricewater House Coopers are not legite.

Transfer pricing is about taking money out and bringing money in

Video clip shown : Stop the Bleeding . The alternative name for this video campaign is Tax me if you can

Cross border trade

At one stop border posts there are no lights and so safety is limited for women.

VAT?  Why do we pay it?

VAT replaced general sales tax and goes straight into government revenue. It was only for luxuries.

The IMF discovered we are bad at collecting income tax so VAT was put in place

There is VAT on almost everything. Food security – women are affected the most.  It is the most punitive tax that you can imposes anyone. Put loosely, it is a bad tax for people.

Exemption from paying taxes

  • Free riders do not pay tax, adding tax to admin
  • Tax dodging – undermining the confidence of the people (lack of freedom of expression)
  • We are currently paying the big banks e.g the big banks in New York- we are feeding into GDP.

There is a campaign push to make public registry names more open. Research on cross- border companies. 

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