25 September 2013, New York, United States
Ministers, distinguished panellists, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for convening and hosting this event on “Domestic resource mobilisation within a future global partnership for development”. Your leadership is crucial to the success of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. Indeed, this event demonstrates what the Global Partnership is really about: Leaders and experts from the worlds of development policy, aid, tax, foreign affairs and finance coming together to find common solutions to increase aid effectiveness and to drive them forward.
Domestic resource mobilisation or “helping countries help themselves more effectively” is vital to the success of future global development efforts and is one of the four main pillars of the OECD’s Strategy on Development. Today I would like to touch on two closely linked issues in this area where development cooperation through the Global Partnership has a critical role to play: tackling tax fraud and evasion and combatting illicit flows.
Three weeks ago in Saint Petersburg the G20 agreed ambitious plans to combat tax fraud and evasion and to make the international tax system more transparent and fairer. But it is not just G20 countries that stand to benefit from the increased revenues this global cooperation will bring. The OECD is committed to ensuring that developing countries benefit too. Let me provide you with a few brief examples:
- Over 60 developing countries participate in the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (half the membership!), where they benefit from technical assistance and peer review to monitor and review progress towards full and effective exchange of tax information.
- Many developing countries have engaged with our initiative on Tax Inspectors without Borders (TIWB) - deploying tax experts to share knowledge and build capacity. The Global Partnership Ministerial in Mexico provides the perfect launch opportunity for this initiative.
- We are also cooperating to build capacity in developing country tax administrations. For example, the OECD/EU/World Bank transfer pricing capacity building project is already delivering results. Our transfer pricing project in Kenya cost USD 10 000, but raised additional revenue of 12.9 million dollars – a rate of return of USD 1 200 for every dollar spent!
- Finally, through our Task Force on Tax and Development we are engaging developing countries in important international work to implement a single global standard on automatic exchange of tax information and in our G20/OECD Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) to tackle double non-taxation of corporate profits. The Action Plan sets forth 15 ambitious actions that will result in the most fundamental change to the international tax rules since the 1920s!
Combating illicit flows can also be an invaluable source of domestic resource mobilisation. But, it is a two-way street. Developed and developing countries both have responsibilities: to identify, stop and recover funds, and punish those responsible. That is why development cooperation is so important in this area.
The good news is that the Oslo Dialogue on Tax and other Crimes, with its whole of government approach, is helping to improve operational and information sharing arrangements, and to build up expertise in developing countries to fight financial crime.
At the OECD we are promoting the smarter and more targeted use of aid to help developing countries combat economic and financial crimes and recover stolen assets. For example, we are currently putting the final touches to a report measuring how each OECD country addresses illicit flows from the developing world. In addition, we are taking stock of OECD members’ efforts to return stolen assets to foreign jurisdictions.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation provides the opportunity for concerted action to increase aid effectiveness. Domestic resource mobilisation is an area where there is some low-hanging fruit that is ripe for picking.
We will focus hard on jointly advancing these initiatives when we meet at the first ministerial meeting of the Global Partnership in Mexico next year.