Today’s EU Proposals Are A Welcome Development In The Fight Against Corruption In Resource Rich Countries, But There Is Potential To Do Much More
October 25th, 2011
October 25th, 2011
BRUSSELS – Today’s EU proposals are a welcome development in the fight against corruption in resource rich countries, but there is potential to do much more.
Marta Ruiz, Eurodad’s senior policy and advocacy officer, said:
“Disclosure of payments to governments on a Country-by-Country and project by project basis is a very welcome step to combat corruption but it will only give a very partial picture of a company’s activity. This proposal will not address tax dodging by multinational companies, which represents the biggest share of the problem related to illicit capital flight.”
“Only broader country-by-country disclosure including data such as the name of subsidiaries in all countries, and financial performance including sales, purchases, labour costs, finance costs and profits would enable authorities to assess whether companies are paying taxes consistent with their real activities and economic performance in each country where they operate.”
“This reporting requirement should apply to all sectors not just extractives and forestry as illicit practices such as tax dodging are widespread in every industry”.
Raymond Baker, director of Global Financial Integrity, said:
“The European Commission through this proposed Country-by-Country Reporting legislation has taken the first step towards ensuring people in developing and emerging nations can hold their governments and the companies that operate in their countries to account. This is to be welcomed.”
“But the European Commission has missed an opportunity to bring transparency that would further reduce endemic corruption and aggressive corporate tax avoidance. The European Commission’s draft legislation comes up short because it only includes the extractive and forest related industries. And crucially, there are no provisions for production or sales data in these proposals. The Commission should include this within its legislation to ensure all stakeholders can clearly assess whether countries are getting a fair deal for the natural resources in their countries.”
Marta Ruiz +32 (0) 2894 4648
Nick Mathiason +44 (0) 77 99 348 619
The EU proposals, reforming the Transparency and Accounting Directives, will require extractive industry and forestry companies to declare the payments they make to governments in every country they operate in. This will help tackle the corruption that has prevented those living in poverty from benefiting from the raw materials in their country. It marks another key step in helping hold governments to account.
But crucially it is not just governments that need to be held to account. There is a clear need to increase corporate accountability because corporate tax avoidance is a huge issue for developing countries. Illicit financial flows cost developing countries $10 for every $1 they receive in aid according to the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development. Over 50% of all illicit flows result fromcompanies mis-pricing imports and exports in order to avoid income tax, VAT tax and customs duties.” Tax dodging is also contributing to the debt crisis in Europe.
Full country-by-country reporting, covering all sectors, not just extractive industries, including a range of financial information such as production figures, the name of subsidiaries, profits/revenues and staffing levels would help tax collectors spot tax dodging and collect what they are due.
Current proposals do not require companies to detail their annual production figures and this is a terrible omission. It means today’s proposal which requires the companies to publish payments made to governments, including tax data, in each country in which they operate, is in itself insufficient to assess whether a country is getting a fair deal from its natural resources.
Increased transparency by corporations would also help restore the connection between corporations and the societies they operate in, allowing citizens to see the full picture of the contribution being made, to support those who are behaving well, and hold to account those who are not.
Both Member States and the European Parliament now have the chance to change these proposals, to make them better, to make them tackle both corruption and tax dodging, both of which are helping keep people in poverty.
Notes to Editors: