Christian Aid Releases New Video Linking Poverty and Tax Evasion in Guatemala

October 25th, 2010

Christian has just released a new video highlighting the important link between poverty and tax evasion in Guatemala.  Check it out:

Hannah Richards, Christian Aid’s communications and information officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, recently wrote about this problem in a blog post on the Christian Aid website after witnessing the devastating effects of tax-dodging on the ground in Guatemala.

Hannah writes:

We drive through rivers where bridges have collapsed and are not rebuilt. I talk to children who won’t be able to go to secondary school because they can’t afford to travel so far.

The Guatemalan government doesn’t really have much money to spend. It should have more money coming in from tax than it does.

Tax breaks for companies, tax dodging and secrecy laws mean that it’s hard to make the most of what they’ve got.

And continues:

…there’s no doubt that if we can help change tax standards and practices internationally, it will help governments like Guatemala’s increase their income.

This year Guatemala is being hit worse than ever with storms and flooding. But even so the government warned it didn’t even have the budget to keep the National Disasters Committee open until the end of the year. These are the people who send out warnings ahead of time to communities and coordinate relief efforts.

After being in Guatemala I don’t need any more convincing of the need for a fairer global tax system, and the massive benefits it could have.

For its part, the Guatemalan government has earnestly worked to put its ship in order. They’ve worked closely with Global Financial Integrity, the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development, and others over the past year to implement common sense policies to fight the illicit flows of money (and tax revenue) out of the country. However—as Hannah points out—if we really want to assist developing countries in the fight against poverty, we still need to change tax, transparency, trade and accounting standards at the international level.

Christian Aid’s video and work on this topic is all part of their Trace the Tax campaign, which seeks to help poor countries mobilize domestic resources for development through enhanced transparency and accountability both domestically and in the international financial system.

Christian Aid and Global Financial Integrity are bothcoordinating committee members of the Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development.

Written by Clark Gascoigne

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