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Creative tax collecting

‘Tis the season to be jolly… and to collect taxes?

Tax inspectors are being deployed in Santa Claus outfits to try to encourage reluctant taxpayers in Argentina's capital to cough up… If people in Buenos Aires province pay their arrears by the 20th, they could be eligible for a series of festive tax deductions. The official leading the campaign said it was a chance to start the New Year in peace, free from the fear of prosecution.

Fellowship for social entrepreneurs

The Global Social Benefit Incubator is offering 10 spots in its intensive two-week program meant to help “successful technology innovators scale their endeavors and achieve sustainability.” Each fellowship is valued at $20,000. The application process has its hurdles, but last year’s class was able to get in. Best of luck!

How many bribes did you pay this year?

Transparency International has published their 2005 Global Corruption Barometer. The report shows that the impact of corruption is harshest on the poor, and that citizens of poor countries tend to pay a significantly larger percentage of their income in bribes than those in higher income countries.

Overhaul of the US foreign aid system?

MSNBC is reporting:

The proposed reorganisation could lead to a takeover by the State Department of the independent US Agency for International Development.

Though it seems there will be no definitive decision for another month or so. This follows USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios’ announcement last week that he was retiring.

Negotiating aid vs. the Goliaths

It is late at night in a bar by the Zambezi river when Dipak Patel, trade minister from the impoverished southern African state of Zambia, finds the perfect way to illustrate how hard his job is. “So how many people does the Financial Times have covering trade?” he says. Well, I say, there’s me (the world trade editor), a reporter in Geneva who spends most of her time on trade, someone in Brussels, someone in Washington, and of course our bureau chiefs and reporters around the world spend a fair amount of their time writing about it.

Aceh Diary: Coordination

Coordination is the biggest buzzword within the donor community in Banda Aceh. Everybody’s heard of it, everybody’s talking about it, everybody thinks it’s a great thing, everybody wants to be a part of it; so is everybody doing it? No, not really.