By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK The initiative by France to find new sources of development finances is gaining momentum. This week, around 100 countries will gather in Paris, France to strengthen the consensus on the need to implement new development financing mechanisms, especially the international solidarity contributions. Namibia, whose delegation will be led by Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, will attend the Paris Conference on Innovative Development Financing Mechanisms which also aims to start talks about the possibility of earmarking revenue from air ticket levies in the fight against pandemics and to determine the next steps forward. France has proposed that countries levy air tickets to raise funds for development because air transport is one of the fastest growing sectors with relatively low taxes despite its negative impact on the environment. The levy will represent a small part of the ticket price and will hardly have an impact on the travel behaviour and thus on air transport, a sector that is expected to grow on average by five percent over the next ten years. France's parliament approved the airplane ticket solidarity levy in December 2005, but the levy will only come into force on July 1, 2006. The levy will apply to all passengers taking off from French territory except passengers in transit. In France's case, all domestic flights and flights within Europe, in the economy class will be levied Euro 1, while the business class will be levied Euro 10. The economy class and business class passengers on international flights will pay a levy of Euro 4 and Euro 40 respectively. The French Embassy's Deputy Head of Mission, Yann Hwang, told New Era on Friday that Namibia in principle supports the idea of the air ticket levy although it was not known whether the country will implement the initiative. "We don't now if it's feasible to Namibia," said Hwang. Namibia is also among the pilot group of countries which will take the issue further. Hwang said the countries were chosen on the basis of their ability to implement the taxation and also on their support for the initiative to find new ways of financing development. African countries in the pilot group countries include Algeria, South Africa, Senegal, Mau-ritius, Congo Brazzaville and Gabon. The others are Chile, Brazil, Thailand, Sweden, Germany, Korea, Norway, the United Kingdom and Spain. The group of six, which includes France, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Spain and Algeria have confirmed the feasibility of innovative sources of financing and presented a menu of options, which includes international solidarity levels, international financing facilities and income from migrant remittances and voluntary contributions. International solidarity levies would not only complement traditional official development assistance but also institute mechanisms to redistribute wealth on a global scale. These initiatives come in the wake of developing countries needing several tens of millions in additional resources to improve the quality of their infrastructure, to upgrade education and achieve the millennium development goals agreed by the international community in 2000.
2006-03-01 00:00:00 12 years ago