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Trade unions discuss tax justice in Ghana

24 September 2014
By Jerry Detse Mensah-Pah
On 9-11 September 2014, Public Services International, through its Africa and Arab Regional Office and with support from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, organized a workshop for 50 Trade Union Staff and Activists in Tema, Ghana to empower them with skills and tools for trade union work on the issue of tax justice.

This capacity building programme is in line with PSI’s commitments in collaborating with its affiliate unions and other Global Union Federations across borders to end tax havens, tax avoidance and corruption and to bring in progressive tax systems that are properly resourced and enforced.

Tax justice is a topical issue in Africa. The link between taxation and development is fundamental. A functioning state that can meet the basic needs of its citizens must ultimately rely on its own revenues to meet development objectives. Using a fair tax system, the state can mobilize domestic resources, redistribute wealth and provide essential services and infrastructure.  However, governments across the globe struggle to collect enough taxes to fund essential services in a fair way. Southern countries in particular face serious challenges as a result of weak and under-resourced revenue authorities, large informal sectors, pressure to offer overly generous tax breaks, and the exploitation of tax loopholes by immoral multinational/national companies and rich individuals. Too often, tax systems are heavily skewed against the interests of the poor.  Typically in Africa, tax policies are biased towards collecting taxes easily which imposes a higher tax burden on poor households and formal sector employees.

This three-day training workshop was organized to raise awareness on the issue, train and build capacity of trade union representatives on tax justice campaigns with the view of placing this issue on the trade union agenda.

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