Advocacy in Budget Transparency and Tax Justice: Fostering links at the World Social Forum

Policy Forum attended the World Social Forum in Tunis, Tunisia as part of the network’s desire to form solidarity and strategic alliances with organisations that assist us in meeting our objectives. As an organisation that advocates for open budgets in Tanzania, it was a remarkable opportunity to join forces and connect with other groups under the Global Movement for Budget Transparency, Accountability and Participation (BTAP) and launch the Make Budgets Public NOW! Campaign aimed at advocating governments and parliaments across the world to be more transparent about the budget.

The BTAP members also linked up with other organisations like the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation and the Global Policy Forum to organise a workshop on “Eco-social fiscal justice as part of a holistic Post 2015 agenda” which gave opportunity for participants to share experiences on how public budgets can be designed to address human rights, social and environmental objectives simultaneously and hear about how tax justice and environmental justice can be coupled.

Semkae Kilonzo of the Policy Forum presented the Social Accountability Monitoring System as being applied in Tanzania, Rocio Moreno of BTAP, Iara Pietricovsky of INESC in Brazil and Diego de la Mora of Fundar in Mexico also shared lessons on budget monitoring initiatives in their countries. BTAP also organised a workshop on “Why it is time to Make Budgets Public NOW?” where Policy Forum presented a case study from its Social Accountability Monitoring work in Southern Tanzania as a way of providing practical examples of how budget transparency and participation can help improve citizens’ rights and lives.

Another opportunity for Policy Forum at the World Social Forum was on tax justice campaigning. The network believes that effective and just tax collection is essential in improving the lives of all people in Tanzania, especially the socially disadvantaged and impoverished particularly through redistributing wealth within society the delivery of quality social services. In Tanzania, Policy Forum has conducted executive and parliamentary advocacy on tax justice so that government can reduce the excessively generous tax incentives to multi-national companies especially those in the mining sector in Tanzania and it can enhance its internal capacity to deal with illicit capital flight from the country.

PF hence participated in tax justice activities organised by the Tax Justice Network – Africa which included workshops on illicit financial flows from developing countries and tax competition between developing countries. Policy Forum also connected with tax justice campaigners from Europe who have shown interest to build strategic links with organisations in Tanzania.

The World Social Forum ran from 26th – 30th of March, 2013 and brought together an estimated 20,000 people from about 130 countries.

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