Global campaign: "Tax Justice in the extractive industry!"

Published on 
12/19/2019

Settled by the Global Alliance for Tax Justice to happen on November 19, 2019, the Global Day of Action for #TaxJustice in the extractive industry was initially imagined as a unique day of mobilisation, network building and sensibilization on #TaxJustice in the Extractive sector.

The GATJ Campaign on Tax Justice in the Extractive Industry pushes for the following demands:

  1. Stop the plunder and exploitation of natural and human resources and move away from reliance on extractivist economies characterized by over-production and over-consumption by the wealthy.
  2. Ensure a comprehensive and effective tax regime for extractive industries, including through resource or export taxes on the export of raw materials from extractive activities, taxation of services related to extractive industries and progressive environmental taxes. Apply effective anti-abuse measures to prevent corporate tax avoidance and other types of illicit financial flows.
  3. Levy just, progressive and adequate tax rates on mining and extractive activities and ensure that this revenue contributes to quality public services for all, with special priority to the needs of mining-affected communities and vulnerable groups.
  4. Scrap wasteful tax incentives granted to extractive industries.
  5. End the impunity of corporations in mining and other extractives industries in their tax abusive practices, including illicit financial flows, and hold them to account for compliance with environmental standards, human rights and fiscal policies. Ensure the financial transparency of extractive corporations, and publish all contracts and any agreements entered into by governments for the exploitation of natural resources, including Production Sharing Agreements.
  6. Ensure transparency and accountability at different levels of government and parliamentary policy-making and regulation over the extractives industry. Implement strict anti-corruption policies and punish government officials who are involved in corrupt practices in all phases of mining and extractivist activities, from exploration and licensing to production, use and final point of sale. Hold governments, parliaments, sub-national state bodies and their agencies to account for the tax abuses of mining companies and the complicity of local elites.
  7. Institute and enforce tighter social, financial and environmental regulations and sanctions over the extractives sector. Close down harmful and abusive mining projects/companies.
  8. Reject or cancel provisions for fiscal stability, investor state dispute settlement, grandfathering and other lock-in clauses in treaties, agreements and contracts with extractive industries, which constrain the decision-making processes of governments, legislative and parliamentary bodies over fiscal and regulatory concerns.
  9. Uphold the rights of communities and women affected by mining and other extractivist activities, including their right to protect their communities.
  10. Protect the rights of the artisanal miners.

Depending on the national and regional contexts as well as organizational priorities and capacities, GATJ members and allies may carry all the demands or may strategically choose the demands that they would like to focus on.

Our objectives were:

  • Build linkages & convergences between the growing #TaxJustice movement and other movements and campaigns focusing on the extractive sector,
  • Expose the tax abuses of extractive corporations
  • Build and shape strong public opinion in support of tax and fiscal justice in the extractive sector

While urging social movements, rights and environmental organisations, citizens’ groups, NGOs, and activists to campaign for #TaxJustice in the Extractive industry, we received a good traction and realized the perspective could be broadened. We thus reframed the Global Day of Action and used it to launch a sustained effort to carry out global campaigns for "tax justice in the extractives sector" in the coming years.

Global materials produced & widely circulated

A call-to-action in English, Spanish and French was circulated prior to the Day of Action itself – on which many resources were posted and massively reposted: serious factoids, regional quotes, funny memes in English, videos, banners for Facebook and Twitter and many more visuals, sample tweets...

 

 

A statement and a press release were issued by TAFJA-APMDD on the GDOA’s eve, the latter titled ‘Asian tax justice alliance calls for closer scrutiny of extractives, immediate scrapping of tax perks urged’

Partners also took part in the campaign launch, such as the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT): ICRICT commissioners produced quotes which were designed as bilingual visuals and widely circulated online:

 

ASIA

In the Philippines, TAFJA (Tax & Fiscal Justice Asia)-APMDD organized two main events on the 19th:

  • A GLOBAL PRESS FORUM Makati City, Philippines with representatives from 4 countries.

The press forum was aimed to share with the members of the media the issues of tax injustices in the extractive sector.
Welcome remarks and introduction were given by Joy Hernandez, GATJ Campaigns and Policy Coordinator in Asia. It was followed by a brief overview of the Global Days of Action by Dereje Alemayehu, GATJ Executive Coordinator. Ah Maftuchan of Perkumpulan Prakarsa (Indonesia) discussed why TAFJA is fully supporting the GDOA and he related the campaign to the tax and extractive issues in Indonesia. Afterwards, Sreedhar Ramamurthi of Environics Trust (India) shared how the marginalised sectors in India are adversely impacted by the operations and tax injustices of the extractive companies.

While not often highlighted, tax injustices in the extractive sector is also common in the Philippines. Lawrence Pulido from the community affected by OceanaGold Philippines, Inc.'s (OGPI’s) mining operations in the province of Nueva Vizcaya shared the issues and struggles to shut down OGPI. Aside from the environmental damage caused by OGPI’s gold mining, it was also found that the fiscal incentives granted to the company reduced its income tax bill, which translated to billions of foregone revenues.

Zeena Manglinong of the Freedom from Debt Coalition explained how big extractive corporations get away with paying taxes while women are being heavily burdened by taxes. She also discussed how the tax reform proposals of the Philippine government, particularly the lowering of corporate income tax rates, will benefit corporations.

Lastly, Mae Buenaventura, co-coordinator of TAFJA, highlighted the need for the tax abuses of the extractive sector to be exposed.

“November 19 is just the start of the efforts to unmask the tax dodging, profit shifting, and illicit financial flows in the extractive industries and to contribute to the existing struggles for economic, environmental, social, and climate justice”, Mae Buenaventura noted.

  • A joint statement by TAFJA and APMDD – “Stop Tax Dodging and Plundering!”

TAFJA and APMDD released a statement that outlines that tax and fiscal injustices involving extractive companies. In the statement, TAFJA and APMDD highlighted the often overlooked impacts of the extractive industries and aimed to shed light on tax dodging, profit shifting and illicit financial flows in the extractive industries.

  • A ‘MONEY HEIST’ STUNT in front of Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. (OGPI):

a direct action with about 50 Philippines civil society activists, in front of OGPI, calling for the cancellation of the company’s FTAA renewal. With activists wearing Salvador Dali masks like the characters in the TV show ‘Money Heist’, the stunt depicts the grand mining heist done by extractive companies and the peoples’ resolve to reclaim the public money for public services.

 

Different organisations participated in the action, including Asian Peoples’ Movement from Debt and Development, Alyansa Tigil Mina (Stop Mining Alliance), Freedom from Debt Coalition, women’s group Oriang, and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

In Vietnam, ActionAid issued a video titled “Tax Justice in the extractives” , highlighting the global damage called by the extractivism model:

AFRICA

To celebrate the Global Day of Action for #TaxJustice in the Extractive industry, Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) and the Technical University of Kenya, School of Business and Management Studies organized a public discussion with students, and a panel of practitioners, who “spoke with passion and narrated how the extractive industry is controlled by a handful of conglomerates who are involved in abusive tax practices:

  • Mrs Mercy Ong’onge, a lecturer at the School of Business and Management Studies
  • Fred Njehu, a Senior Policy Advisor at Greenpeace Africa
  • Vincent K. Kimosop, Technical Tax Advisor at TJNA

‘The MNCs together with accounting and legal firms, gang up against the source of resources to avoid paying their fair share of taxes’, Vincent K. Kimosop framed, while the motivating question from Mrs Mercy Ong’onge while addressing undergraduate students was ‘Are we adopting policies that are impoverishing our lives?”. This triggered questions among the participants, who expressed concerns e.g. ‘The communities hardly know the contents of foreign-managed industrial mines’ operational contracts. The effect of their investors’ activities may not be felt immediately but the implications are long-term and, in some cases, irreversible’.
Greenpeace Africa’s Fred Njehu cited Kenya and the community’s participation in stopping the construction of a coal mining plant in Kitui. ‘Speak out, do not watch as an entire community’s lives are being damaged’, he urged the youth.
TJNA published a comprehensive press release after the GDOA, including information on the public discussion.

In Burundi, ICED and ActionAid held a photo petition with many staff members, which were circulated alongside excerpts of a recent report they published on Tax & Extractives in the country.

Latin America

In Latin America, despite the difficult and urging political, democratic and social context, GATJ and RJFLAC proposed to connect RJFLAC’s actual campaign on tax incentives to the extractives sector. Noteworthy is that regional organizations insisted on focusing on the extractivism aspects of the intensive agriculture and monoculture industries rather than mining, gas, oil.

  • The regional coordination in LAC of the GATJ made a proposal for a regional statement that was very well received and ignited the beginning of a joint regional work on Tax and extractives.
  • IJF (Brazil) shared a João Carlos Loebens' contribution to the campaign titled ‘The mining that impoverishes Brazil’: a reflection on the benefits of extractivism in the country (and in Peru), with examples of Vale and Yacocha and a pedagogical explanation of transfer pricing. The text can be translated into English upon request.

For more information about the Global Alliance for Tax Justice's campaign about the Extractive Industry, please feel free to reach out to us:

Image ©IvanBandura/Unsplash

 

 

 

 

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