Monday, September 17, 2007

Why Tax Justice: Tax for Sustainable Development

My name is Harum Mukhayer; I live in Khartoum, Sudan and study at Ahfad University for Women. Recently I have been more involved with global issues of development from a youth point of view, which is why I find the YTJN as a youth-driven coalition for promoting progress very interesting.

I am the founder of a new web-based project called Glocal Key. Our team from different parts of the world aims to create a web-based platform that has a local impact on a global scale, addressing issues that concern youth locally and facilitating locally led initiatives that are supported by our Global Network.

The issue of tax justice and the vision of the YTJN I found especially appealing when I read a blog entry by tax expert Richard Murphy who talks about the importance of tax in the debate on development. He mentioned an article from Kenya’s Business Daily which provides a case study of how ’over the last few years Kenya has witnessed a phenomenal growth of tax revenues and alongside it, growth in the national budget.’

However, in countries where people have low levels of income and live under the worst conditions of poverty, taxation may provide a means of building sustainability. To consider how this might happen, it will be necessary to consider the whole process of transition from a situation of underdevelopment to a level of attained growth as well as both how tax revenues are generated and where they are invested.

I think that the role of youth is integral in helping make tax justice everybody’s responsibility, promoting civic engagement, and ensuring tax is used as a means of creating more equitable societies. In particular, it will be important to ensure that the benefits of taxation are evenly weighed against the costs incurred by those less capable to pay them.

However, given the link between tax justice and development it comes down to a matter of awareness-raising especially among youth on the dual objective of tackling harmful tax practices while at the same time encouraging fair mobilization of domestic revenue. This is key to bridge existing inequalities, and maintain sustainable development.

Resources mentioned:
Read the blog entry from Tax Research UK's site.
Read the Kenyan Business Daily article.

Harum Mukhayer is a final year student in the School of Management Studies.

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