Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said as The Bahamas is part of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), its economic and social development requires the use of the United Nations (UN) Multi-Vulnerability Index (MVI).
“It is a critical step forward in understanding the relationship between vulnerability, exposure, shock, debt and development. This index not only acknowledges economic vulnerabilities, but also considers factors like climate change, political stability, and social disparities, providing a more comprehensive picture of a nation’s susceptibility to external shocks.”
The Prime Minister was the Keynote Speaker at the Opening Ceremony of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Diplomatic Week 2023 held at Baha Mar Resort, Monday, October 23, 2023. The theme for the week of activities is “Celebrating 50 Years of Foreign Relations and Beyond in an Independent Bahamas.”
He said, “High-income states, such as The Bahamas, often encounter difficulties in accessing concessional financing due to classifications based solely on income.”
The Prime Minister explained that the MVI recognizes that even relatively affluent nations can be highly vulnerable to various risks, making it imperative to reassess traditional financing models.
“By incorporating the MVI into international funding mechanisms, we can ensure that financial assistance reaches those who need it most, regardless of their income status, thereby promoting a more equitable and effective approach to sustainable development and disaster resilience.”
He said he must recognize and commend the work of the UN High Level Panel on MVI in 2022, and he looks forward to supporting evidence-based recommendations for policy and governance arrangements in 2023 and beyond.
Tax Justice: Global Financial Reform and the UN Tax Convention
Prime Minister Davis said taxation, commerce, and debt are all inextricably linked. “The current international tax system penalizes and handicaps the international financial centres of the Global South. Multilateralism can help shape more effective and fair global governance arrangements through agenda-setting, cooperation, and the merging of political and technical spheres.”
He noted that the UN has the capability of providing the technical capacity building that states need to execute essential taxation policies.
He said The Bahamas believes that the UN is the appropriate body to design and build an equitable and inclusive international tax administration architecture with equal-footed representation.
The Prime Minister said, “The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) cannot declare legitimacy for developing universal outputs while decision-making and membership remain exclusive. The Model Double Taxation Convention between developed and developing countries exemplifies why the UN is a more inclusive body for developing countries concerning international taxation.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Fred Mitchell and CARICOM Secretary General, Her Excellency Dr. Carla Barnett also brought remarks during the ceremony. Special Video Messages were sent from Commonwealth Secretary General, Her Excellency Baroness Patricia Scotland, KC, and Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency Antonio Guterres.
By LLONELLA GILBERT/Bahamas Information Services
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