UN for regional tax cooperation platform in Asia-Pacific

DHAKA Senior officials of the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) today called for strengthening the Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development Committee as a region-wide tax cooperation platform.

They made the call at the second session of the committee that began at ESCAP headquarters in Bangkok, said a press release here.

Increased recognition of regional tax cooperation is needed now so that it can deal with the emerging challenges in the field of international taxation, with a view to supporting the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the means of implementation of sustainable development, said UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Alisjahbana at the opening session

She said, ESCAP stands ready to support the development of a revamped tax regime to tackle the new business models of digitalization, ranging from web-based services to remote employment and manufacturing activities, by providing a regional platform for a broad-based consultation and cooperation among member states.

Delegates in the session highlighted the need to adopt policy directions that facilitate transition of economies beyond GDP growth to achieve sustainable development in the region.

In particular, they emphasized the importance of adopting a whole-of-government approach, integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into fiscal policies and processes, and aligning financial systems with the 2030 Agenda.

The cost of achieving the 2030 Agenda represents a challenge to Afghanistan, similar to other landlocked and developing countries. If we think of this in terms of per person per day, Least Developed Countries need $3 per person per day compared to $1 on average for developing countries in the region, said Deputy Minister of Economy of Afghanistan Ahmad Jawad Osmani in the session.

Deputy Minister of National Planning and Infrastructure of Maldives Fathimath Niuma said, Development cooperation should come in the form of opportunities for trade, opportunities to attract new investments, and opportunities to bounce back whenever we face exogenous shock. Only then will development cooperation serve a meaningful purpose for small middle-income countries and their people. Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank Dr Yasuyuki Sawada said: Developing Asia will need to invest $26 trillion over the timeframe of the SDGs or $1.7 trillion per year if the region is to maintain growth momentum, eradicate poverty and respond to climate change. The infrastructure investment gap currently equals 2.4 per cent of projected GDP. Greater of use of public-private partnerships will be critical to close this gap.

The committee on Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for development is held every two years and serves as a mechanism for ESCAP member countries to evaluate the work of ESCAP.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)