By Harry Webster
Oxfam’s ‘Tax Tour’ – a series of talks devoted to raising awareness for the injustices of tax havens – will be coming to Cardiff this Thursday.
The two hour talk will take place in Cardiff University’s Main Building , starting from 6pm, and will be comprised of short films, lectures from 3 guest speakers, and a question and answer session.
Guest lectures will be given by three of the professionals leading the fight against tax injustice; Onyinyw Okechukwu, Sharon Kabwe Chilese, and Wanjiru Kanyiha.
Onyinyw Okechukwu is the Communications Coordinator at ActionAid Nigeria. She has been a key figure in the charities Tax Injustice campaign since its conception, and has previous experience working in the women’s rights movement across West Africa.
Sharon Kabwe Chilese is from Zambia, and has previous experience working in the Treasury Department at Cavmont Capital Bank. She has worked with the private sector to promote various tax policies, and has spent
Wanjiru Kanyiha, is a Kenyan lawyer, who has been involved in various programmes in Inuka (Rise Up) Kenya, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to fighting governance issues, such as corruption.
The series of talks, which will also feature dates in Oxford, Manchester and Edinburgh, has set out to raise public awareness to the injustices caused by tax havens, and is part of a much wider campaign to help put an end to the “era of tax havens.”
The campaign comes after research conducted by Oxfam found that $170billion US dollars is lost to tax havens, meaning poor countries lose pivotal revenue for public services like healthcare and education.
Indeed,one such example in in Kenya, where approximately 34% of the population live in poverty, and it is estimated that there is just a mere 2 doctors for every 10 thousand people living in the country.
Meanwhile, files leaked in February of 2015 estimated that around $560 million dollars was being stored in Swiss bank accounts, by individuals linked to Kenya.
As a result of such untaxed wealth, the Kenyan government are losing vital money needed to provide for the country’s population.
Claims from Oxfam state that 62 billionaires account for the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, and that the use of tax havens helps this gap between the rich and the poor grow. The charity also claim that as much as $7.6 trillion dollars of personal wealth is being stored in offshore bank accounts, making it all untaxed.
Indeed, the UK’s own Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies form a crucial part of the tax haven network, and the charity claims that while the UK government are attempting to put measures into place to curb tax dodging, they are not doing enough.
Oxfam are currently in the process of securing signatures to petition the UK Government, in an attempt to secure further measures are put in place to help end the era of tax havens.