Human scars – Is there a hidden cost to tax? Case for Zambia and Zimbabwe (30/09/15)

Using community testimonies, interviews and experiences, this paper will demonstrate the cost of collected and uncollected tax from extractive industries in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Using casework drawn from work under the aegis of Publish What You Pay (PWYP) , this paper will seek to demonstrate the linkages between tax and human rights. It will argue for the need to locate tax at the centre of the human rights discourse focusing on corporate and state accountability. This is particularly important as the human rights international discourse has largely not looked at taxation issues in the context of corporate accountability.

At first glance, tax and human rights are strange bedfellows. After all every tax system has the same objective to extract funds from companies and its citizens ostensibly for the delivery of public goods that the general citizenry would enjoy. The process of collecting tax from companies mainly looks at how much was collected and how the collected revenue is appropriated. What is at times missing in discussions around tax is the often hidden human cost, how that tax revenue was generated and the human rights impacts- especially on women, associated with how well the tax is collected and allocated.

This paper attempts to demonstrate that the human element is not captured and left missing in the millions of dollars that governments proudly declare as having been collected from the extractive sector. The human element is also often missing in the millions of dollars more that extractive companies do not report as constitutive of the impact of extractivisim on millions of people. The authors argue that there are ‘human’ costs related to extraction that need to be concurrently reported on when governments and mining companies report on the revenues, profits and taxes.

This paper seeks to demonstrate the linkages between tax and human rights. It argues for the need to locate tax at the centre of the human rights discourse focusing on corporate and state accountability. This is particularly important as the human rights international discourse has largely not looked at taxation issues in the context of corporate accountability.

Authors: Mr Edmond Kangamungazi, Mr Gilbert Makore and Ms Carol Kiangura Affiliations of authors: Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Zambia and Zimbabwe members

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