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(L-R) Ambassador (Prof.) Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Permanent Representative to the Republic of Zambia to the UN, Ambassador Chola Milambo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zambia to the UN and Chairman of the African Group, and Ambassador Sophia Tesfamariam, Permanent Representative of Eritrea to the UN at a conference on the Convention. Pictures by John Nyaku

African Group seeks endorsement of UN Tax Convention resolution

Amb. Chola Milambo, Chair, African Group

 

By Cecilia Ologunagba

New York, Nov. 17, 2023

The Chair of the African Group, Amb. Chola Milambo, is soliciting political endorsement by UN Member States of the resolution on the Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation.

The framework is a landmark initiative reflective of the collective commitment to fairness and inclusivity in the global tax system.

Nigeria had, during the 77th session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), presented a historic resolution entitled: “Promotion of Inclusive and effective International Tax Cooperation at the United Nations.”

The resolution laid the foundation for the creation of a new system of international tax cooperation that should be universal in scope and approach.

With this, Member States agreed for the first time to have a convention on tax cooperation and to annually discuss global tax issues and review progress.

The motion, submitted for consideration by Nigeria on behalf of 54-member Africa Group of States, was adopted after some discussions on a failed amendment.

Milambo, who is the Chair of the African Group for the month of November called for support to endorse the resolution, in an interview with the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York.

Milambo, who is the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zambia to the UN, however, expressed confidence that the resolution would go through like in 2022 with the level of support received so far.

According to him, the Member States need to think of the resolution in real terms, noting that having effective international tax cooperation will change a lot on the ground.

“There are more girls in school. There are more people with health care needs. We have more access to resources for refugees and the IDPs.

“We will have better capacity to address gender issues, we’re able to deal with even the issues of climate change,” he said.

Also speaking, Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, said the Group had received the support of some Member States but called for more support for the proposal to be adopted.

“We acknowledge, for example, after a long interaction, the U.S. support for the resolution. They had their concerns but at the end of the day they looked at the totality of the future and supported it.

“We are expecting others to do same,” he said.

According to him, there is a strong connection between the problems of taxation and illicit financial flows, and they are connected to crime, which is destabilising the society.

The envoy said it was important for the Group to present this resolution to deepen fairer taxation for governance, stressing that supporting the resolution is part of contribution to humanity.

On how the resolution is different from that of 2022, Amb. Harold Agyeman, Ghana Permanent Representative to the UN, said the resolution adopted during the UNGA 77 set a basis for the framework.

“The resolution adopted in 2022 sets the basis for what we seek to do in the 2023 resolution.

“Th 2023 draft resolution essentially talks about two steps; one to form an open ended group that would be established by August 2024 for the terms of reference of what you want to achieve.

“This is to set out how we’re going to negotiate the framework convention for international tax cooperation.

“So that is a more significant and practical effort towards the objective than all of us, which is to ensure International Tax cooperation which enables us to ensure fairness and equity in the way in which resources are managed in terms of the flows of resources from places where actual business takes place.

“So, I think it’s a more significant effort this year as we set the pathway towards the achievement of framework convention,” he said

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