By Jimoh Babatunde
A High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI Panel), said Governments must do more to tackle tax abuse and corruption in global finance.
The panel established by the 74th President of the UN General Assembly and the 75th President of the UN Economic and Social Council is composed of former heads of state and government, past central bank governors, business and civil society leaders and prominent academics.
The findings of the panel contained in an interim report published , yesterday, said Criminals have exploited the pandemic as governments relaxed controls to speed up healthcare and social protection.
Governments can’t agree on the problem or the solution, while resources that could help the world’s poor are being drained by tax abuse, corruption and financial crime.
“Corruption and tax avoidance are rampant. Too many banks are in cahoots and too many governments are stuck in the past. We’re all being robbed, especially the world’s poor,”
Dr. Dalia Grybauskaitė, FACTI co-chair and former president of Lithuania, said “Trust in the finance system is essential to tackle big issues like poverty, climate change and COVID-19. Instead we get dithering and delay bordering on complicity.
“Our weakness in tackling corruption and financial crime has been further exposed by the COVID-19,” said Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, FACTI co-chair and ex-prime minister of Niger. “Resources to stop the spread, keep people alive and put food on tables are instead lost to corruption and abuse,” he said.
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The FACTI Panel calls for a more coherent and equitable approach to international tax cooperation, including taxing the digital economy, and more balanced cooperation on settling disputes.
A launch event for the interim report will bring the FACTI Panel chairs together with high-level representatives from Member States.
The Panel hopes the interim report will generate debate among policymakers and consensus on recommendations to be included in a final report to be published in February 2021.
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