Country Engagement Plan of the Tax for SDGs Programme in the Maldives Signed in Support of a Taxation Framework for the Maldives Aligned with the SDGs
November 10, 2022
Malé, 9 November 2022: The Country Engagement Plan of the Tax for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Programme in the Maldives was signed today between the Ministry of Finance, Maldives Inland Revenue Authority and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives. With this initiative which is well aligned with the Government of Maldives’ Strategic Action Plan, the Government aims to enhance the effectiveness of the Maldivian tax system and accelerate progress on achieving the SDGs.
With the support of Norway and Finland as donor governments, 25 “Tax for SDGs Focus Countries” are proposed to be implemented over the 2022-2024 period, with Maldives and Bhutan being the only countries selected from the Asia Pacific region. Country programmes are guided by the Country Engagement Plans, as signed today, that follow the wider global framework.
“We are proud to see that Norwegian support to UNDP is benefitting Maldives in its quest to improve taxation systems and make resources available for achieving SDG targets. A strong and equitable taxation system is important to reduce vulnerability and dependence on external assistance,” said Hilde Berg-Hansen, First Secretary/Deputy Head of Mission of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Colombo.
Taxation and fiscal policies are critical tools that the government can maneuverer to direct public finance into achieving the SDGs. While taxes provide the financing for promoting new and more sustainable growth strategies, it is also a tool that can encourage behavioral changes, contributing to better outcomes in environment, health, gender and other aspects of the SDGs.
"Government revenue is allocated to finance SDGs, which includes increasing spending on health sector and the environment. The Tax for SDGs initiative will enhance the effectiveness of our tax system, further strengthen our fiscal policy and help accelerate the progress of attaining SDGs," said Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Finance, speaking at the signing ceremony held this morning.
Understanding the need for leveraging taxation for financing SDGs, UNDP’s Sustainable Finance Hub initiated the ‘Tax for SDGs’ programme as part of a comprehensive package of tools and solutions for accelerating financing for the SDGs. This programme supports developing countries in increasing domestic resource mobilization through policy advisory, capacity building and technical advisory on strengthening tax administration.
The focus areas of the Tax for SDGs Programme in the Maldives - all of which have a strong gender focus as a cross-cutting theme are:
- Increasing Tax Efficiency and Digitalization
- Building Equitable Taxation Systems, and,
- Capacity Building.
“MIRA appreciates the continuous support provided by UNDP for institutional development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP programs have significantly contributed to the capacity development of staff and assisted in leveraging innovative solutions in fulfilling strategic objectives of MIRA. We are very happy to launch Tax for SGDs programme and look forward to its successful implementation,” said Fathuhulla Jameel, Commissioner General of Taxation.
The Tax for SDGs programme will reinforce the existing support that the UNDP is providing for the Government to broaden the fiscal space and leverage innovative financing solutions through the Climate-themed Development Finance Analysis and the Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF).
“Taxation when run in a fair, equitable and transparent manner, builds trust, strengthens citizen/state relationship, and grants service providers the social license to channel public finances and deliver those services most needed by the people,” said Enrico Gaveglia, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives.
At the ceremony, the UNDP Resident Representative also presented to the Finance Minister and Commissioner General of Taxation copies of UNDP Maldives’ ‘Island Life’ magazine and ‘The Great Upheaval: Resetting Development Policy and Institutions for the Decade of Action in Asia and the Pacific’ by Swarnim Waglé, Chief Economic Advisor at the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific and Kanni Wignaraja, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific - which reimagines social and economic pathways to revamp production modes and networks to rekindle sustainable growth in the region.
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