Tax to finance the SDGs, but not to undermine them

Tax to finance the SDGs, but not to undermine them

This week over 170 policymakers, government officials, and members of academia, civil society, and international organisations will gather in Berlin to discuss the future of the Addis Tax Initiative (ATI). The overarching goal of the ATI is to improve domestic revenue mobilisation (DRM) in order to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More than 55 countries and regional and international organisations have joined the ATI, which commits donors to collectively double their assistance to DRM, developing countries to step up their tax collection efforts, and all members to ensure “policy coherence for development.” However, noticeably absent from the ATI’s progress monitoring is the issue of equity. Indeed, analysis by Oxfam finds that only 7% of DRM support reported by ATI donors in 2017 contained clear goals related to equity or fairness in revenue systems.

The importance of equity

Credit: Flickr/USAID Ethiopia

If the primary goal of DRM projects and reforms is simply to collect more revenue, this can have negative consequences for development efforts. For example, revenue targets (like collecting 15% of GDP in tax) can create perverse incentives to collect wherever it is most feasible – which can harm those without political power such as the poor or women the most. Tax and transfer systems in low- and middle-income countries are, in general, far less effective than those in OECD countries at reducing poverty and inequality. In fact, research by the CEQ Institute shows that in 16 out of the 29 countries analysed, taxes and direct transfers to the poor actually increased income poverty. Of course, part of that pattern reflects the inadequacy of social spending, but it equally reflects the need for a greater focus on the equity implications of tax reforms.

Priority areas for increasing equity in DRM

Given that in low and middle-income countries taxes on consumption currently make up over 60% of revenues, there is a great deal of room for making tax systems more equitable at the national level. We suggest four priority areas for reform:

  1. Strengthening taxation of income and wealth: OECD countries collect about 10% of GDP in personal income taxes, while non-OECD countries collect only slightly more than 2% of GDP on average. There is much developing countries can do to better tax professional incomes, increase the progressivity of income tax schedules, and tax inheritance and capital gains. When it comes to wealth, it remains largely undertaxed, despite a surge in ultra-high net worth individuals (especially in developing countries). An increasing amount of that wealth is being concentrated in real estate, yet property tax collection is similarly low. Non-OECD countries on average collect merely 0.5% of GDP from property taxes (compared to 2-3% in OECD countries). If low- and middle-income countries as a group could reach 1.5%, this would be equivalent to an additional $28.9 billion in government coffers annually: more than total combined aid disbursed by Canada, France, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden in 2017.
  2. Rationalising the use of tax incentives: Tax incentives to attract investment can play a legitimate role in economic policy. Unfortunately, studies suggest that tax incentives in developing countries frequently continue to be characterized by excessive discretion, poor monitoring, and little transparency. The result is reduced revenue and little new investment – in effect, a handout to corporations and wealthy interests. More transparent and accountable governance of tax incentives is needed.
  3. Reducing the burden of consumption taxes and informal and nuisance taxes on the poor: While many assume that the poor do not pay much tax in low-income countries, they actually bear a heavy fiscal burden due to a wide array of consumption and informal taxes, small subnational taxes and levies, and formal and informal user fees to access essential services. In low- and middle-income countries, consumption taxes make a significant proportion of the poor poorer than they were before taxes and transfers. Unless the poor can be sufficiently compensated with transfers, exemptions for basic foodstuffs and other essential goods may thus be necessary. Studies from Sierra Leone and the DRC suggest that total formal and informal burdens of direct taxes, levies, and user fees make up as much as 10-20% of the incomes of poor households. Limiting these burdens should be given significantly greater priority.
  4. Enhancing the participation of accountability stakeholders: Civil society organizations, academic institutions, women’s rights groups, and journalists have a critical role to play in monitoring and pressing for increased fairness in tax systems, voicing the concerns of the vulnerable, and advocating for the translation of tax revenues into public benefits. Nevertheless, in 2017, only 7% of DRM aid (reported to ATI) supported these actors.

Parallel action is also needed at the global level to make the ATI’s third commitment to “policy coherence” a reality:

  1. Reforming the international tax system. While the BEPS Action Plan was a useful first step in trying to combat aggressive tax avoidance, it is not enough. Low-income countries continue to be disadvantaged by restrictive tax treaties and often still have little voice in global decisions that impact their taxing rights. All countries should be given the opportunity to raise their voice in the BEPS 2.0 negotiations, even if they are not members of the OECD Inclusive Framework – a situation that pertains to half of ATI partner countries. Meanwhile, existing international rules continue to be difficult to implement in lower-income countries, which are substantially more dependent on corporate tax revenues than OECD countries. A continued push for developing country taxing rights and priorities, including simplified approaches to enforcement, is needed.
  2. Increasing cooperation on tackling offshore tax avoidance and evasion by wealthy individuals. It is estimated that Africans hold $500 billion in financial wealth alone offshore, which results in governments losing around $15 billion per year in unpaid taxes. Progress must be made to include developing countries effectively in automatic exchange of information processes and ensure effective collaboration in cases of tax evasion, while strengthening rules on beneficial ownership.
  3. Continuing external support. In low-income countries, even the most substantial improvements in DRM will not generate enough revenue to finance adequate social protection and human development floors. External support such as aid will therefore remain critically important in pursuing equity at the global level.

Prioritizing equity in the ATI agenda

The theme of this week’s conference is “Towards a Roadmap for the ATI post-2020.”

In drawing that roadmap, we are calling on ATI members to focus more explicitly on equity and inclusion. Along with the priorities outlined above, we propose that members of the ATI:

  1. Adopt specific indicators on revenue composition in monitoring progress on Commitment 2, in order to prioritize not only collecting more revenue, but from more progressive sources, like direct taxes on income and property, rather than indirect taxes on consumption.
  2. Regularly assess, under Commitment 3, tax spillovers and the distributional impact of tax policy reforms. ATI donor countries should conduct tax spillover analyses to ensure that their own corporate tax rules and practices, and tax treaties, are not undermining their DRM support. ATI partner countries should conduct distributional impact assessments in order to ensure the drive for more revenue does not come at the expense of achieving the SDGs, particularly on inequality and poverty.
  3. Make a collective commitment to increase tax transparency.  All government ATI members should commit to transparency on data about tax collection, tax policy decisions, administrative practices, and the amount of revenue raised from each type of source. In addition, all ATI members should commit to encouraging and facilitating the engagement of accountability stakeholders, and to support the effective representation of developing countries in international policymaking forums.

Acknowledgements

Wilson Prichard, Research Director, International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) and Associate Professor of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Nora Lustig, Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics and Director of Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Institute, Tulane University

Sanjeev Gupta, Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development

Warren Krafchik, Executive Director, International Budget Partnership (IBP)

Ian Gary, Director, Power and Money, Oxfam

Brahima Coulibaly, Senior Fellow and Director of the Africa Growth Initiative, Brookings Institution

Also contributing to this pieceRhiannon McCluskey (ICTD), Paolo de Renzio (IBP), Nathan Coplin (Oxfam), and Ludovico Feoli (CEQ)

Fiscal Futures: Debt is Eating Up Government Revenues and Undermining the Sustainable Development Goals

Fiscal Futures: Debt is Eating Up Government Revenues and Undermining the Sustainable Development Goals

This post is part of the Fiscal Futures blog series exploring some of the biggest issues that fiscal accountability enthusiasts are likely to encounter over the next 10 to 15 years. Learn more about the Fiscal Futures project and download resources here.

Financing development has always been a challenge, especially for the weakest economies. While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) lay out new aspirations, the story has not changed: “the needs to promote progress are urgent – from extreme poverty to gender inequality to climate change – but resources are scarce and private sector finance, while an essential ingredient, will not resolve the most intractable development challenges.”

Improving domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) is the way to go. However, the financing needs exceed the public revenues that many countries have been able to collect so far. Three recent studies (from Development Initiatives, ODI and the International Monetary Fund) find that even in the best case scenarios, DRM will be insufficient to cover that SDG gap in low-income countries (LICs). The studies propose more aid and concessional finance, but we are seeing just the opposite. Aid to LICs is stagnating if not declining, with concessional financing to low- to middle-income countries (LMICs) limited due to “graduation” schemes. And because DRM is slow and politically complicated, debt has been an easier choice for countries when available.

Thanks to investors’ “hunt for yield” and a wider range of creditors, debt has been more available than ever before. As a result, debt repayments are steadily growing and eating away the gains from DRM meant to fund social and economic investments. Kenya, for example, has seen debt repayments triple to 22 percent of revenue for 2019 (from just 7 percent in 2016). According to Jubilee UK, interest rates on debt are continuing to grow rapidly: in just the 12 months of 2018, average bond yields for LIC and LMICs moved from 5.8 percent to 8 percent. At the same time, commodity prices have suffered a 10 percent decline. As a result, fiscal space is shrinking in 70 percent of low-income countries.

This, unfortunately, means that many countries are using their scarce fiscal space to repay debt, rather than invest in citizens and achieving the SDGs. It means progress in gender-responsive budgeting may stall or even reverse. For example, in Uganda’s upcoming 2019/20 budget, interest payments will be the second largest expenditure – while spending on key sectors (health, education and agriculture) will experience a 12 percent cut. This fiscal pressure increases the risk that some governments will do whatever it takes to raise revenue – but this can result in poorly designed or regressive taxes (such as social media taxes or borehole taxes).

The limitations of DRM, particularly for LICs, assessed by the studies above are very real – but strong political commitment to equitable tax policies and governance reforms can change the calculus for DRM. A recent Brookings study found that strengthening governance in Sub-Saharan Africa could help mobilize up to an additional $110 billion annually (more than double the $44 billion in aid to the region in 2016). And based on World Bank estimates, we calculate that reducing the use of tax incentives could raise an additional $211 billion in LIC and LMICs.*

But if rising debt costs are not addressed (restructured or reduced), such new revenues will not give governments the fiscal space they need to strengthen healthcare systems or pursue women’s economic empowerment programs. In fact, in some countries, interest payments already exceed government expenditures on health and education combined. This is a very troubling statistic – and an urgent reminder that governments (and its lenders) must be held accountable for how well debt dollars, tax revenues, and other public budget resources are used.

This is why civil society groups working on tax and budget issues need to be attuned to the changing nature and structure of debt. Civil society, journalists, and activists have more than proven their technical “chops” on budgets, aid, tax, and debt – but these networks need to build on each other’s strengths. The intimate connection among these fields is a self-evident truth, but that means unified efforts are needed.

The task of increasing and raising awareness to this reality is an essential one for civil society groups. Furthermore, civil society participation in the dialogues towards next generation DRM reforms and debt restructurings will be essential and is just starting. We need to leverage the different political spaces that each other have created. If we do this successfully, we can delegitimize poorly designed policies, such as unjust debt restructurings or social media taxes.

The sky is grey for development finance in the poorest countries. Stronger and more cohesive civil society efforts are essential to shine light on a different path – where governments embrace public finance responsibilities, not abandon them for more seductive and easier money.

*According to the World Bank report, reducing the use of tax incentives could raise revenue by as much as 2–3 percentages points of GDP, and as high as 5-6 percentage points in some countries. The authors’ calculation is based on GDP statistics from World Bank Open Data. In 2017, GDP (in current US$) in LICs and LMICs was collectively $7.053 trillion, and 3 percent of this equals $211.6 billion. Based on the highest estimate of 6 percentage points, revenues for LIC and LMICS would increase by $423.

Nathan Coplin is the Senior Policy Advisor, Accountable Development Finance at Oxfam America. Jaime Atienza is the Debt Policy Lead at Oxfam.

Further Reading

Poor Countries Face a Climate Change Double Whammy

Poor Countries Face a Climate Change Double Whammy

This post originally appeared on the International Monetary Fund’s Public Finance Management Blog on 4 September, 2018.

Climate change is arguably the world’s greatest development challenge—and it will also be one of the most significant public finance challenges countries will face for decades to come.

The estimated cost of moving to a low-carbon, climate-resilient world is upwards of hundreds of billions of dollars a year. While governments will shoulder a share of these costs, they will also need to effectively leverage private sector capital to cover much of the bill. The significant role of private sector finance in the response to climate change includes investing directly in low-carbon markets like renewable energy, developing climate-relevant projects in countries, and providing debt finance for governments to pursue low-emission, sustainable development.

Now, a recent study from the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) warns that the poor countries that are most vulnerable to climate change will pay more to borrow because of that vulnerability.

Climate change is hitting developing countries hardest because of both their geographical location and their limited capacity to respond. Avoiding potentially devastating loss of lives and blows to critical economic sectors requires urgent action, but these countries already struggle to meet their people’s needs and grow their economies.

Poor Countries and Climate FinanceIt’s a double whammy—first, climate-vulnerable countries must spend more to address the impacts of global warming, and second it raises the cost of doing so. Climate-vulnerable countries will respond by using a combination of foreign assistance and domestic revenues, such as taxes. This mix often won’t cover the bill, so those governments that have access to international credit markets will likely seek to borrow the money needed to fill the gap.

But climate change-induced economic and political instability can increase the risk of default, especially in developing countries, so investors will demand higher interest rates to offset this risk. The UNEP study, conducted by the Imperial College Business School and SOAS University of London, finds that climate-vulnerable countries will pay an extra $1 of interest for every $10 because of this vulnerability.

Over the past decade, this additional interest amounted to an estimated $40 billion—money that could have been spent to build climate resilience, grow key economic sectors, educate children, or provide critical services to move people out of poverty. Defusing this threat to the development of climate-vulnerable countries will require action at both the country and international levels.

The UNEP study argued that the best way for climate-vulnerable countries to minimize higher borrowing costs is to reduce their climate change risk. To do so, governments will have to invest public resources effectively into actions to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts. An additional benefit from reducing climate risk is that it will make countries more attractive to other forms of private finance.

Evidence from around the world shows that governments are more likely to make and effectively implement better policy choices, including those related to climate action, when informed and engaged citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs) influence budget decisions and monitor spending on the ground. To foster such accountability, governments must provide full information about how they raise and spend public money and open their budget processes to the public—and citizens and their organizations need to get involved.

Take Nepal, for example. Climate change threatens this country’s main economic sector and its food security. Last year, Freedom Forum, a local CSO, used publicly available information to track funds for an irrigation scheme intended to help farmers adapt to drier conditions. The good news—they found that the funds were reaching farmers and increasing production. But they also identified problems in how funds were distributed, which the government needs to resolve to improve and effectively expand the program. At a minimum, the tracking generated useful information that could ultimately lead to a more climate-resilient agricultural sector. It is now up to the government to act on the information, and for Freedom Forum and others to use it to keep the pressure on.

Opening budgets also can have an independent effect on government borrowing costs. In a 2012 analysis the International Monetary Fund found that fiscal transparency can lead to improved credibility and performance.

The International Budget Partnership’s (IBP) Open Budget Survey 2017, which covered 115 countries in its global assessment of budget transparency, participation and oversight, unfortunately finds that most of the climate-vulnerable countries in the UNEP study have weak budget systems—some amongst the weakest in the world.

But taking on both systemic governance reform and effective climate action—and footing the bill—are huge asks for these countries, especially as they have little to do with causing climate change. Developed countries, whose carbon-fueled growth and consumption drives global warming, have recognized their responsibility to provide financial and other support to developing countries for climate action. They have made a collective commitment to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020, which is enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement. It is imperative for industrialized countries to fulfill this commitment, to reduce both developing countries’ climate vulnerability and their need to borrow.

Donors and other international actors must also provide capacity-building and other support to governments to improve how they manage public resources for building low-carbon, resilient societies, as well as to domestic CSOs to enable them to play effective accountability roles. For instance, in the Nepal case, in addition to working with the government on improving its budgeting, the UN Development Program supported the Freedom Forum’s budget-tracking initiative. Similarly, IBP has long provided support to governments and its civil society research partners in understanding and improving budget accountability through the Open Budget Survey.

This isn’t just about reducing borrowing costs for poor countries or increasing private sector investment. Effective government action on climate change is essential to creating an equitable and sustainable world. Given that inadequate, poorly designed, or poorly implemented investments could squander these opportunities, everyone needs to take up the challenge.

Further Reading

Advancing Aid and Budget Transparency for Development: Five Things You Need to Know

Advancing Aid and Budget Transparency for Development: Five Things You Need to Know

At the core of the relationship between citizens and the state are decisions about how public resources are raised and spent. Budgets are the most important economic policy tool available to governments to promote inclusion and redress inequality. The availability of comprehensive, timely information, with meaningful opportunities for citizen engagement in budget processes, can lead to substantive improvements in service delivery and governance.

In countries where a significant portion of the budget comes from external actors, such as major international donors, then it is crucial that these actors and their finance flows are transparent. This will ensure that available resources are allocated and spent in a manner that responds to citizens’ needs. More broadly, greater levels of transparency around both aid and budget data help to illustrate a government’s commitment to allocate sufficient resources to reduce poverty.

To bring more attention to these critical issues, Publish What You Fund and the International Budget Partnership are bringing together governments, donors, civil society organizations, and oversights institutions for a discussion this week at the Open Government Partnership Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia. Based on the Open Budget Survey 2017 and the 2018 Aid Transparency Index, both published earlier this year, here are five things you need to know on aid and budget transparency:

1. Progress has been made over the last decade on aid and budget transparency

The 2018 Aid Transparency Index and Open Budget Survey 2017 reports highlight that the picture of aid and budget transparency is clearer today than it was ten years ago. Countries on average are providing more budget information and 75% of the organizations assessed in the Aid Transparency Index now publish information on their development activities on a monthly or quarterly basis. This is particularly encouraging and demonstrates that progress on these fronts is achievable.

2. These transparency gains are not irreversible

Learn more about the Open Budget Survey 2017 »

The Open Budget Survey 2017 found that budget transparency has stalled overall since 2015, with the most pronounced decline in sub-Saharan Africa. This also echoes disappointing performances from some donors who have previously championed transparency in the Aid Transparency Index. This suggests a possible complacency and risk of backsliding that must be urgently addressed. Institutionalising transparency efforts and open government practices, including going beyond legislation to focus on implementation, ensuring transparency in broader reform efforts, using digital tools, and introducing institutional measures for coordination, can help sustain transparency and achieve openness dividends.

3. Aid and budget transparency is still lacking when it comes to the detail

Learn more about the 2018 Aid Transparency Index »

The 2018 Aid Transparency Index found that 20 out of 45 organizations provide an outlook for up to 2019 or beyond, which should be useful information for partner country governments when planning their national budgets. However, disaggregated budget information containing financial breakdowns for the different lines of individual activities is less extensively published. This makes it particularly difficult to follow the money and figure out what it is spent on once it leaves donors’ accounts. This also echoes previous technical work on aligning aid information with budget classifications from partner countries. Without donors publishing sector codes that are mappable to partner country budgets, it remains difficult for them to produce accurate budgeting, accounting and auditing of both external and domestic resources.

4. Gaps also exist when looking beyond financial flows to project impact

Basic information needed to track sector spending, budget implementation, and the goals and outcomes of these are also missing. According to the Open Budget Survey 2017, 59% of countries make data available on actual spending against budget during implementation but only 45% make final spending against budget available. Further, 74% of the 115 countries surveyed failed to provide details of expenditures, such as by sex, by age, by income, or by region, to illustrate the financial impact of policies on different groups of citizens. On the aid front, the pieces of information critical to assess project and donor impact – beyond the money – are the most difficult to find – when available at all. Collectively, donors assessed in the 2018 Aid Transparency Index only scored 27% on average for the performance component (which includes results and evaluations, for example). Without access to this information, donors, partner country governments, civil society, and citizens cannot monitor projects effectively, assess whether objectives were met, or learn from them.

5. Problems associated with transparency are exacerbated by few opportunities for the public to engage and use information

The Open Budget Survey 2017 found that there are very limited opportunities for citizens to participate throughout the budget process. While most countries have at least one formal mechanism for budget participation, practices can be more inclusive and structured to allow for more meaningful citizen engagement. The 2018 Aid Transparency Index included a number of case studies demonstrating the use of information such as proposed project data and outlining why transparency matters to community-based organizations, journalists, and governments in partner countries. Progress will only be truly achieved once the information is being used by all stakeholders to hold decision-makers to account and deliver on development goals.

Conversations across sectors can help stakeholders share experiences and practical ways to connect aid and budget information for accountability and development. We look forward to further engaging with governments, civil society organizations, donors, and oversight institutions to better understand challenges and opportunities to advance aid and budget transparency for more effective development planning, spending. and outcomes.

For more information, please contact Elise Dufief ([email protected]) and Claire Schouten ([email protected])

This post also appears on Publish What You Fund’s Blog here.


Further Reading

القضاء على الفقر المدقع باستخدام الموارد المحلية

You are viewing the Arabic translation of this post. View the English version here.

في ورقة عمل حديثة بعنوان البنزين والسلاح والهبات، نشرها مركز التنمية العالمية، طرح أندي سومنر وكريس هوي سؤالاً مباشرًا ذا صلة: هل لدى البلدان النامية مجال لرفع موارد محلية كافية للقضاء على الفقر المدقع بين شعوبها؟ ووجدوا، إلى حد ما مفاجئ، أن ما يقرب من ثلاثة أرباع مستوى الفقر العالمي يمكن معالجته من خلال إعادة توزيع الموارد القومية على المحتاجين.

جلسنا مع كريس لمعرفة المزيد عن البحث وما يعنيه بالنسبة لأولئك الذين يعملون في مجال إعداد الموازنات الحكومية.


شراكة الموازنة الدولية: هل يمكنك توضيح بحثك لنا؟ وما هي النتائج الرئيسية التي توصلت إليها؟

كريس هوي: لقد لاحظنا أولاً مقدار الأموال اللازمة لإخراج الجميع من الفقر المدقع في البلدان النامية ثم قدّرنا بعد ذلك ما إذا كانت تتوفر موارد كافية داخل كل بلد لكي يتمكن من تحقيق ذلك. ومن المفترض عمومًا أن معظم البلدان النامية لا تملك موارد محلية كافية لرفع الضرائب وإعادة تخصيص الإنفاق العام للتصدي الكامل للفقر المدقع. ومع ذلك، كنا قادرين على إظهار أن هذا لم يعد هو الحال. فمعظم البلدان النامية لديها مجال للإسراع بشكل كبير في القضاء على الفقر باستخدام الموارد المحلية في الوقت الحالي، دون الحاجة بالضرورة إلى انتظار النمو الاقتصادي.

شراكة الموازنة الدولية: هل كانت هناك اختلافات بين البلدان على مستويات دخل مختلفة؟ وهل البلدان ذات الدخل المتوسط أكثر قدرة على التصدي للفقر المدقع من البلدان منخفضة الدخل؟

كريس هوي: بالتأكيد. يمكن لمعظم البلدان متوسطة الدخل أن تنهي الفقر المدقع من خلال إعادة التوزيع بشكل أكبر، إما عن طريق فرض ضرائب جديدة أو إعادة توجيه الإنفاق العام. إننا نوضح أن جميع البلدان التي يزيد دخل الفرد فيها عن 2000 دولار أمريكي (إجمالي الدخل القومي طريقة أطلس) يمكن أن تقضي على الفقر المدقع بزيادة الضرائب على “الأغنياء” وحدهم. وإذا أُعيد توجيه الإنفاق العام بعيدًا عن إعانات الوقود الأحفوري الضارة وتوجيهه إلى تحويل التمويل النقدي للفقراء، فسيتم القضاء على ثلثي نسبة الفقر المدقع إلى حد كبير في البلدان متوسطة الدخل. وعلاوة على ذلك، هناك مجال أكبر في البلدان متوسطة الدخل لإعادة التوزيع ليس فقط للقضاء على الفقر المدقع (دخل بقيمة 1.9 دولار أو أقل في اليوم)، ولكن سيتم أيضًا القضاء على الفقر بين الفئة التي تحصل على 2.50 دولار في اليوم وأيضًا الفئة التي تحصل على 5 دولارات في اليوم.

وبصفة عامة، لم تكن البلدان منخفضة الدخل في وضع يسمح لها بالاعتماد على إعادة التوزيع لإنهاء الفقر المدقع. ومع ذلك، كانت هناك بعض الاستثناءات. ففي عدد من البلدان منخفضة الدخل، مثل إثيوبيا وموزمبيق وتنزانيا وأوغندا، ستعمل إعادة توجيه دعم الوقود الأحفوري إلى برامج التحويل النقدي على تغطية نسبة تتراوح بين ثلث ونصف النسبة الإجمالية للفقر المدقع.

شراكة الموازنة الدولية: ما الذي تتضمنه النتائج بالنسبة للمعونة؟ هل ينبغي أن يتطلع المانحون إلى تغيير كيفية استثمارهم للموارد الخارجية والمساعدة في معالجة الفقر العالمي؟

« تنزيل ورقة عمل مركز التنمية العالمية

كريس هوي: يسلط هذا البحث الضوء على ضرورة قيام الجهات المانحة للمعونة باستكشاف أساليب مبتكرة لتشجيع زيادة إعادة التوزيع داخل البلدان المتوسطة الدخل. على سبيل المثال، دَعَم برنامج المعونة الأسترالي دراسة متطورة حول كيفية إدراك الأشخاص لعدم المساواة في إندونيسيا وما يريدون أن تفعله الحكومة حيال ذلك. وأظهرت النتائج أن أكثر من 80 بالمائة من الإندونيسيين منزعجون تمامًا من عدم المساواة ويفضِّلون أن تكون نسبتها أقل بكثير. وعلاوة على ذلك، فإن برامج التحويل النقدي كانت أهم السياسات التي كان يرغب الأشخاص في أن تعطيها الحكومة الأولوية من أجل معالجة عدم المساواة. وعلى نحو مهم، تشير الأدلة من جميع أنحاء العالم إلى أن برامج التحويل النقدي يمكن أن يكون لها تأثير كبير على الحد من الفقر.

وهذا النوع من المنهجيات المبتكرة تجاه مشاركة المانحين لم يزوّد الحكومة الإندونيسية بالأدلة التي تثبت أن الأشخاص يرغبون في القيام بشيء ما بشأن عدم المساواة فحسب، بل أشار أيضًا لما يعتقد الأشخاص بأنها أفضل السبل لمعالجة الأمر. ويمثل توسيع قاعدة الأدلة لإعادة التوزيع عن طريق إدماج سياسات سليمة تقنيًا مع توضيح تصورات الأشخاص ومعتقداتهم طريقة واعدة لتحقيق الإصلاح.

شراكة الموازنة الدولية: في خاتمة ورقتك تقول “أصبحت أسباب الفقر العالمي الآن مسألة الاقتصاد السياسي بدلاً من ندرة الموارد …” ما هي الأمور التي تهتم بها المنظمات التي تبذل جهدًا في القضايا المتعلقة بالموازنات والمال العام؟

كريس هوي: قد تكون درجة الضرائب وإعادة التوزيع في بلد ما هي أهم العوامل المُحدِدة لمدى عدم المساواة. وينبغي للمنظمات التي تعمل في هذا المجال أن تواصل التركيز على زيادة الوعي بكيفية إنفاق المال العام، وكيفية مساهمة ذلك في الحد من نسبة عدم المساواة أو الحد منها. على سبيل المثال، من خلال إجراء هذا البحث، أدركت أهمية جعل المواطنين على علم بحصة الموازنة التي يتم إنفاقها على “الأمور السيئة” العامة، مثل دعم الوقود الأحفوري، والسماح لهم بمعرفة تأثيرها الكبير للقضاء على الفقر إذا أُعيد توجيه هذه الأموال إلى برامج التحويل النقدي.

وهناك نقطة ذات صلة تفيد بأنه كلما زاد إدراك المنظمات التي تبذل جهدًا في القضايا المتعلقة بالمال العام بأولويات المجتمعات، زادت قدرتهم بشكل أفضل على التعبير عنها وتعزيز واضعي السياسات بالأدلة الدامغة. وفي الدراسة المُشار إليها آنفا حول تصورات عدم المساواة ودعم إعادة التوزيع في إندونيسيا، ظهرت بعض النتائج غير المتوقعة بشأن أنواع السياسات التي يضعها الأشخاص في سلم أولوياتهم. فعلى سبيل المثال، كان هناك دعمًا محدودًا لرفع الحد الأدنى للأجور أو زيادة الضرائب، ولكن كان الدعم القوي موجّهًا لزيادة تمويل المشاريع ذات الأحجام الصغيرة والمتوسطة.

شراكة الموازنة الدولية: أخيرًا، ما هو البحث الذي تتطلع لإجرائه بعد ذلك والذي قد يتناول بعض هذه التحديات؟

كريس هوي: إنني أستكشف كيف تشكل تصورات الأشخاص حول عدم المساواة دعمهم لإعادة التوزيع، وكيف يؤثر توفير المعلومات الدقيقة على آرائهم. وقد أظهرت أبحاثي حتى الآن أن الأشخاص يميلون إلى التقليل بشكل كبير من مستوى عدم المساواة وزيادة النطاق بحيث ينتقل الأفراد إلى مستويات أعلى من الدخل. وهذا يقود الأشخاص إلى اتخاذ قرارات غير مدروسة عند التصويت في الانتخابات ويقلل من دعم السياسات العامة التي تسمح بإعادة توزيع أكبر وحراك اجتماعي تصاعدي. ويمكن رؤية مثال حديث على ذلك في الانتخابات الرئاسية الأمريكية حيث أيّد العديد من مؤيدي ترامب التخفيضات الواضحة في الضرائب، على الرغم من أنه من غير المرجح أن يحصلوا على فائدة من هذا الأمر، ومن المحتمل أن يكونوا أسوأ من الناحية المالية نتيجة لذلك.


قراءة المزيد

Mengakhiri Kemiskinan Ekstrim Dengan Sumber Daya Domestik

Mengakhiri Kemiskinan Ekstrim Dengan Sumber Daya Domestik

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Dalam makalah baru-baru ini berjudul Gasoline, Guns, and Giveaways yang diterbitkan oleh Center for Global Development, Andy Sumner dan Chris Hoy mengajukan pertanyaan yang relatif lugas: apakah negara-negara yang sedang berkembang memiliki  lingkup untuk meningkatkan sumber daya dalam negeri yang memadai demi mengakhiri kemiskinan ekstrim dalam masyarakat mereka? Yang mengejutkan, mereka mendapati bahwa hampir tiga perempat dari kemiskinan di seluruh dunia dapat diatasi dengan cara distribusi ulang sumber daya nasional kepada yang membutuhkan.

Kami berdiskusi dengan Chris untuk mengetahui lebih jauh tentang penelitian tersebut dan artinya bagi penyusun anggaran pemerintah.


IBP: Dapatkah Anda menguraikan penelitian Anda kepada kami? Apa saja temuan utama Anda?

Chris Hoy: Pertama-tama, kami melihat berapa dana yang dibutuhkan untuk mengentaskan semua orang dari kemiskinan ekstrim di negara yang sedang berkembang. Kemudian kami memperkirakan apakah setiap negara memiliki sumber daya yang memadai untuk melakukannya. Biasanya ada anggapan bahwa sebagian besar negara yang sedang berkembang kurang memiliki sumber daya dalam negeri untuk menaikkan pajak dan mengalokasikan ulang pengeluaran publik demi benar-benar mengatasi kemiskinan ekstrim. Tapi kami mendapati bahwa masalahnya sudah berbeda. Sebagian besar negara sedang berkembang memiliki lingkup untuk secara dramatis mempercepat pengentasan kemiskinan dengan menggunakan sumber daya dalam negeri yang tersedia tanpa harus menunggu pertumbuhan ekonomi.

IBP: Adakah perbedaan antar negara di tingkat pendapatan yang berbeda? Apakah negara berpenghasilan menengah lebih mampu mengatasi kemiskinan ekstrim dibanding negara berpenghasilan rendah?

Chris Hoy: Tentu saja. Sebagian besar negara berpenghasilan menengah mampu memberantas kemiskinan ekstrim dengan cara distribusi ulang lebih besar melalui pajak baru atau mengalihkan pengeluaran publik. Kami menunjukkan bahwa hampir semua negara dengan pendapatan per kapita lebih dari USD$2.000 (pendapatan nasional bruto Metode Atlas) mampu mengakhiri kemiskinan ekstrim hanya dengan meningkatkan pajak “orang kaya”. Jika pengeluaran publik dialihkan dari subsidi bahan bakar fosil berbahaya menjadi pendanaan transfer tunai kepada rakyat miskin, cara ini dapat mengatasi kira-kia dua pertiga dari kemiskinan ekstrim, sebagian besar di negara berpenghasilan menengah. Selanjutnya, negara berpenghasilan menengah memiliki lingkup lebih luas untuk distribusi ulang untuk memberantas kemiskinan ekstrim (penghasilan maksimal $1,90 per hari) sekaligus kemiskinan di kalangan masyarakat berpenghasilan $2,50 per hari dan $5 per hari saja.

Umumnya, negara berpenghasilan rendah (NBR) tidak dapat mengandalkan distribusi ulang untuk mengakhiri kemiskinan ekstrim. Namun ada beberapa pengecualian. Di sejumlah NBR seperti Ethiopia, Mozambik, Tanzania, dan Uganda, mengalihkan subsidi bahan bakar fosil menjadi program transfer tunai akan mencakup sepertiga sampai setengah dari jumlah total kemiskinan ekstrim.

IBP: Temuan ini menyiratkan apa aja tentang bantuan? Apakah donatur harus berusaha mengubah cara investasi sumber daya eksternal dan bantuan untuk menanggulangi kemiskinan global?

Unduh Makalah CGD »

Chris Hoy: Penelitian ini menyoroti perlunya donatur bantuan untuk mencari cara-cara inovatif guna mendorong distribusi ulang yang lebih besar di negara berpenghasilan menengah. Misalnya, program bantuan Australia mendukung sebuah penelitian mutakhir tentang pandangan masyarakat terhadap ketimpangan di Indonesia dan harapan mereka tentang tindakan pemerintah untuk mengatasinya. Menurut hasil penelitian, lebih dari 80 persen penduduk Indonesia sangat prihatin melihat ketimpangan dan berharap ketimpangan itu menjadi jauh lebih rendah. Selanjutnya, warga menganggap bahwa program transfer tunai adalah kebijakan terpenting dan mengharapkan pemerintah untuk memprioritaskannya demi mengatasi ketimpangan. Yang penting, bukti dari seluruh dunia menunjukkan bahwa program transfer tunai yang dirancang dengan baik akan dapat berdampak besar dalam mengurangi kemiskinan.

Cara inovatif seperti ini terhadap keterlibatan donatur telah membuktikan kepada pemerintah Indonesia bahwa masyarakat berharap pemerintah dapat mengatasi ketimpangan. Selain itu, masyarakat menunjukkan kepada pemerintah tentang cara-cara terbaik menurut mereka dalam mengatasi ketimpangan. Memperluas dasar bukti distribusi ulang dengan cara memadukan kebijakan teknis yang kuat dengan indikasi persepsi maupun keyakinan rakyat adalah cara yang menjanjikan untuk menciptakan reformasi.

IBP: Dalam kesimpulan makalah Anda, Anda menyatakan, “penyebab kemiskinan di seluruh dunia sekarang adalah pertanyaan tentang ekonomi politik, bukannya kelangkaan sumber daya…” Apa implikasinya terhadap organisasi yang bekerja dalam masalah anggaran dan keuangan publik?

Chris Hoy: Tingkat perpajakan dan distribusi ulang di suatu negara mungkin merupakan penentu terpenting tentang seberapa jauh ketimpangan yang terjadi. Semua organisasi di ruang ini harus terus berfokus pada peningkatan kesadaran tentang cara penggunaan keuangan publik dan bagaimana hal ini berperan dalam mengurangi ketimpangan. Misalnya, setelah melakukan penelitian ini saya memahami pentingnya membangkitkan kesadaran warga bahwa bagian anggaran mereka digunakan untuk “hal-hal yang buruk” bagi masyarakat seperti subsidi bahan bakar fosil, dan memberitahu mereka bahwa anggaran mereka dapat berperan sangat besar terhadap pengentasan kemiskinan jika dialihkan ke program transfer tunai.

Pada dasarnya, jika lebih banyak organisasi yang menangani masalah keuangan publik menyadari apa saja prioritas masyarakat, mereka juga akan semakin dapat mewakili masyarakat dan mempengaruhi pembuat kebijakan dengan menyodorkan bukti yang meyakinkan. Dalam penelitian di atas tentang persepsi ketidaksetaraan dan dukungan bagi distribusi ulang di Indonesia, muncul beberapa temuan tak terduga tentang jens-jenis kebijakan yang diprioritaskan masyarakat. Misalnya, kenaikan upah minimum atau pajak kurang mendapat dukungan. Tapi ada dukungan yang kuat tehadap keuangan lebih besar bagi usaha kecil dan menengah.

IBP: Akhirnya, penelitian apa yang ingin Anda lakukan selanjutnya yang mungkin membahas sebagian tantangan ini?

Chris Hoy: Saya sedang mengamati bagaimana pandangan masyarakat tentang ketimpangan dapat membentuk dukungan mereka terhadap distribusi ulang, dan bagaimana memberikan informasi akurat akan berdampak kepada pandangan mereka. Sejauh ini, penelitian saya menunjukkan bahwa masyarakat cenderung sangat meremehkan tingkat ketimpangan namun terlalu tinggi menafsirkan lingkup masyarakat untuk berpindah ke tingkat pendapatan lebih tinggi. Hal ini menyebabkan masyarakat mengambil keputusan buruk tanpa berdasarkan informasi ketika memberikan suara dalam pemilihan umum, dan kurang mendukung kebijakan publik yang memungkinkan distribusi ulang yang lebih besar maupun pergerakan sosial ke atas. Contoh terbaru dapat dilihat dalam pemilihan presiden A.S. Banyak pendukung Trump menghendaki pemotongan pajak yang signifikan meskipun tidak mungkin mendapatkan manfaat darinya dan mungkin akan memperburuk keuangan mereka.


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