Finance Minister Leads Nigerian Delegation to IMF/World Bank Meetings

Zainab Ahmed
  • Billed for high-level panel talks on global tax reform

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, is leading Nigeria’s delegation to the 2019 annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank billed to commence Monday in Washington DC, United States of America.

The week-long events, which run between October 14 and 20, attract global players from the public and private sectors where issues ranging from economy, finance, trade, environment, climate change and other global socio-economic challenges are discussed.

The Nigerian delegation at the global event also features top government functionaries, including the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele, leading public and public sector players, particularly bank chief executive officers, among others.

Government sources told THISDAY that one of the minister’s top priorities at the meetings is to interface with various global stakeholders in the financial sector and advance actions being taken by the federal government in the sector as well as economic growth potential.

Ahmed is also expected to be part of a high-level panel discussion on “Corporate Taxation in a Global Economy: Can a Consensus for Reforms Emerge?”

The panel discussion, which is organised on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Meetings, is organised by the Financial Transparency Coalition, ICRIT, Oxfam, G-24 and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

The underlining issue behind the panel discussion is that despite challenges to multilateralism, a consensus for global tax reform is emerging, and is much needed, as international corporate tax rules are under unprecedented stress.

This particularly because the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan adopted four years ago by the G20 has not stopped various countries from undercutting each other with unilateral measures to protect their tax base.

Furthermore, BEPS did not address the challenges of the digital economy, failed to simplify rules for tax administrations, did not address the race to the bottom in tax rates and also ignored developing countries’ long-standing demand to revisit taxing rights.

A new global agreement is considered essential to decrease the multi-trillion-dollar financing gap to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), fight inequality, uphold human rights and improve human development outcomes.

Multilateral institutions such as the IMF, OECD, G20 and the United Nations (UN) acknowledge the need for change. Success will require more effective and inclusive cooperation than in the past.

The panel discussion featuring Nigeria’s finance minister will highlight the importance of tackling corporate tax avoidance and tax competition, take stock of the current international reform process and debate reform proposals.

The panelists will also identify solutions to ensure that the least developed countries have a voice in the debate.

Meanwhile, for the first time, the IMF is launching an external Anti-Corruption Challenge at the annual meetings.

The challenge is aimed at generating solutions of specific relevance for the IMF’s governance and anti-corruption agenda.

The event will kick off with opening remarks by the IMF’s General Counsel followed by a series of 45-minute panel discussions around challenges and opportunities in improving governance and fighting corruption.