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
Data and statistics
Gender equality advocates need to understand the language issues that we are talking about
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.
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.
- Infrastructure (electricity and water) for development
- Low income housing
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
- Reduce ( unpaid care work and give more access to water and technology)
- Redistribute within family and within the State
- 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.
Govt are borrowing for the infrastructure projects.
Linkages between different forms of oppression
Down up approach is also important
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
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.
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.
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)
Oct- Beg meeting mobilising
Nov- Business and Human Rights
Know your power
- Political will
- Point of view/ job passion
- Double speak
- Judging – redirecting the agenda
- Global rights versus regional rights
- Equal rights
- 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
- Alternative mechanisms on financing the right to health
- Austerity measures hit hardest by 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
Ilicit financial flows and gender
- Western system
- Chinese system
- Slightly communist system
- UN and other bodies
- World Bank
- Bank of international settlement
Every country comes with an understanding of what the economy should be
Groups / Regional institutes
- G8/ 20/30
- G77 (developing country side)
- ACHPR / ACHPRI
- AML grouping (anti- money laundering)
Economic blocks – EAL/SADC/ COMESA/ ECOWAS
Philanthropy comes with a price.
- Credit rating agencies
- Professional bodies
- 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
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
- 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.
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
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.