FOSTERING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS IN AFRICA: PROSPECTS OF REVENUE GENERATION UNDER THE TAX TREATIES SIGNED BY NIGERIA, TANZANIA, AND BOTSWANA
Eyitayo-Oyesode, Oladiwura Ayeyemi
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African countries are behind in social and economic development. The citizens of these countries experience high levels of poverty and hunger, unemployment, maternal and infant mortality, lack of access to quality education, gender inequality and other social, economic and environmental ills. To fix these development challenges, African countries have been encouraged to improve on domestic resource mobilization. This is regarded as a more viable and sustainable way of actualizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) against reliance on aids and grants. Also, emphasis is placed on taxation as the primary source of revenue for funding development because it ensures ownership of development projects by African countries. This thesis shows how the tax treaties signed by African countries (using three African countries as case studies – Nigeria, Tanzania, and Botswana, herein referred to as the comparator countries) can be reformed to improve domestic resource mobilization in those countries for financing socio-economic development. The main objective of this thesis is to uncover provisions in the tax treaties signed by the comparator countries that limit tax revenue from economic activities carried out by non-resident companies in those countries. The analysis covers tax treaty provisions dealing with taxation of business profits, investment income, aircraft and shipping operations, technical services, digital services, capital gains, independent personal services, and other income not dealt with by the allocation rules in the treaties. The thesis identifies important findings for consideration by the comparator countries to drive reforms to their tax treaties to improve domestic resource mobilization to help finance socio-economic development. Using the ideas of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) and the principle of “Common but Differentiated Responsibilities” (CbDR) to frame and explain my arguments for change, this thesis establishes the responsibility of developed countries to recraft the prescriptive rules of the international tax regime under which the bilateral tax treaties signed by African countries operate. It also argues for the individual African countries studied, and also for Africa as a regional bloc, to implement measures geared to foster increased tax revenue generation by reforming or cancelling their tax treaties with source-restrictive provisions.