CAMPAIGNERS from Africa are gaining support in Scotland in a push for a change in UK tax laws to close loopholes it is claimed cost developing countries billions of pounds each year, reports The Herald.
Oxfam and Action Aid have launched a campaign to press Westminster to overhaul the rules that it is claimed allow multinational firms to use the UK as tax havens while profiting from the exploitation of natural resources in developing countries.
Two tax justice activists started a tour of the UK with a public event at the Methodist Church in Edinburgh after being greeted at Holyrood by Andy Wightman MSP.
Onyinye Okechukwi, who works for Action Aid Nigeria, said: "If they (companies) maintain aint their registration in Europe it is at that point for the governments to have a policy or practice that makes these companies more transparent.
"The very first step will be that the global powers including the UK and all the other countries that make the UK must ensure that these companies become more transparent in their dealings.
"We need to set up a system that allows these companies to make their dealings more open, so governments can gain information about their income and the tax they have paid in various countries."
She said losing tax revenue has "a strong impact on education, infrastructure and health, where people don’t have access to healthcare and they have to use their meagre income to pay for hospital items like cotton wool, even paying for injections".
Wanjiru Kanyiha, a lawyer and lobbyist, said: "What is happening is those revenues that would be otherwise channelled to government are not being channelled to government but are going back to the tax havens that these international companies are registered in.
"The impact of that is huge and causing more and more people to be entrenched in poverty and to lack basic services.
"The companies open subsidiaries in Kenya and then they shift all their profits.
"It basically means they are not paying their fair share at the moment, and most of the money is transferred outside the Kenyan jurisdiction and outside Africa."