ActionAid, a global NGO that tackles poverty, has welcomed the decision by the African Tax Administration Forum to meet this month to discuss SABMiller’s tax profile in the four African countries in which it operates.
It believes the move marks the beginning of a period of greater scrutiny of the tax position of multinational companies operating in Africa.
The decision to discuss SABMiller at the forum meeting, which is to be held in Cape Town on June 28, appears to have been prompted by a critical report written by ActionAid, which was released last year. Martin Hearson, the author of the report, which accused SABMiller of depriving African countries and India of substantial amounts of tax income as a result of its aggressive tax management policies, has welcomed the meeting.
He said this meeting represented a positive step in attempting to redress the resource imbalance between powerful multinational companies and individual African countries. Hearson said it was very encouraging to see the effort that was being put into building capacity among the tax authorities in Africa.
“This will be the first time African countries are meeting to discuss one case… Given the imbalance of resources and power between the multinationals and individual tax authorities, it is very positive to see the tax authorities working together like this.”