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Action Aid says tech giants should pay more tax

By Graham Kajilwa | May 22nd 2021

Unfair tax regimes are costing the world’s largest economies up to Sh3.2 trillion ($32 billion) from the global big tech firms, Action Aid has said.

The money is enough to have every person in the world given two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, said the organisation, which focuses on the eradication of poverty.

Action Aid said in a statement that tech firms such as Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon should be made to remit tax according to the profit they make in each country they operate.

“Tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet have extensive market activity across the world and have racked up billions in profits during the pandemic,” the statement said.

“If global corporate tax systems were fair, governments could increase their tax revenue and fund better health systems to end the pandemic and start the recovery.”   

Action Aid said if this is done, in just one year Sh3.2 billion would be collected from the five tech firms alone.

“$32 billion would cover vaccine doses only, not the full costs of the vaccine rollout. This figure merely offers a sense of the scale of resources involved in taxing big tech companies,” it said.

Some of these tech giants have, through corporate social responsibility, contributed to the fight against Covid-19, led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In the recent surge of cases in India, Microsoft through Oxfam India and Unicef crowd-funded Sh300 million to support the country’s response. 

“Tax revenue from tech giants with economic presence in the global south is even more crucial for much-needed investment in public services, such as healthcare and education, which have been decimated by the pandemic,” said Action Aid.

Graham Kajilwa

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