Taxes for good?

I spend a lot of time thinking about the revenues from the extractive industry and the wait predicted by some experts as to when the monies will actually be visible in the national treasury.  My concern is that children don’t have the luxury of waiting a decade or two for coal and natural gas revenues to flow in and out of the national coffers and eventually into the pockets of their parents – through decent employment, their teachers – through quality education and their community health clinic – through basic vaccines and other core services.  Children need their rights fulfilled now.  Children are stunted due to inadequate nutrition and care practices today and will not have the capacity to grow into the leaders of tomorrow if they are physically and cognitively compromised in their first two years of life.  Investing in social protection systems could make the difference to the most vulnerable and give them a fighting chance for their futures.

A Children’s Tax could enable Mozambique to leverage its investments for future generations by guaranteeing a certain percentage of revenues, i.e. three US dollars per ton of coal, be applied to their welfare through critical social sector programmes.  Given the expected high level of extraction and the corresponding incomes from coal and gas, frontloading of taxes will be a major breakthrough in terms of reliable social sector financing for Mozambique.   Back of the envelope calculations suggest this proposed tax on coal could equate to approximately US$ 200-300 million per year by 2016, at given market price of approximately $US 117 dollars per ton, and increase to triple that by 2025.  This initiative could bring about an immediate 180 degree change to the precarious social sector funding situation and allow scaling up of social sector programmes for nationwide coverage.  If approved in 2012, it could potentially equate to Mozambique attaining some of the MDG indicators that previously have been out of reach due to lack of funding/financing.

We need champions to push this cause forward!!  Are you one of them?