NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – African governments should come with appropriate taxation regimes that will not impede investors but help to increase economic growth.
Nigeria’s Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Okechukwu Enelamah says governments are catalysts to thriving business hence the need to come up with tax measures with incentives that attract investments.
Speaking during the ongoing 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Enelamah also called for heavy infrastructure investments by the governments, a move he says will help create matching appropriate taxation measures.
“Leadership starts with responsibility. I think as governments we must first focus on investing in infrastructure. With this it will be fair for the governments to demand tax from businesses. But infrastructure should come first,” he said during a panel discussion at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).
His counterpart from South Africa Rob Davies argues that the issue of tax remains a big challenge especially in developing countries as most of the multinationals don’t want to pay taxes.
He says this leaves the host countries with less development despite the cost of facilitating those international businesses.
He says as much as tax incentives are good for attracting investors there is need for balance to ensure equal growth.
“Multinationals must pay taxes. Some have exploited tax havens and this is not healthy. I think the issue of taxation remains a major challenge in developing countries,” he notes.
But according to Helmut Scholz, a member of Committee on International Trade at European Parliament, the solution will be to set tax international standards for long-term harmony between the developed and developing countries.
“Both the governments and investors have interests and it will be important to ensure we work with a common platform,” Scholz said, “good Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) will only make countries better.”
The Tuesday morning UNCTAD session’s theme was on ‘transforming economies for sustainable and inclusive growth.’
With the tagline “from decision to action” this year’s conference has been viewed as the most important as it is the first one since the global community established Sustainable Development Goals and mandated UNCTAD as of five international entities to mobilise financing for development.