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SPEAKERS’ CORNER: Informal workers should pay taxes even if they don’t have access to health and education.. do you agree?

“Why should the informal workers (self-employed or wage earners) who represent the 'norm' and at least the largest number, pay for taxes and social contributions if they do not have access to good health and education services, to infrastructures (water, sanitation, electricity, etc.) and security in the areas where they live and work?”

(Read more at: FORMALISING THE INFORMAL ECONOMY?, Thematic brief byJacques Charmes. Available on IESF (En, Es, Fr)


Access to health and education is a basic human right.


No, because they have their healthy economy, their work only REDITA to live day by day, is a subsistence economy that does not allow surpluses to face contingencies of health, education and other needs that require family.

So it is working on consolidating their businesses, so that once empowered with the capacity to address not only the tax side, but also cover all social needs.

We have a famous question in Egypt, which came first the egg or the chicken? most of our countries do not have enough funds (among many other things) to provide sufficient services and healthcare for its citizens.

If all the citizens don't pay their taxes until they see the services, and the government will wait for the funds to provide services, then nothing will happen.

I believe that we have to provide enough resources for governments to act then we monitor their work by the parliment and other monitoring organization on their accomplishments.

We should all pay our dues as we already use resources like the roads, the subsidized transportation, water that is available...etc. but we should be hard on the government for not using the funds in the best possible ways and advocate measures of change in case they fail to do so.

A citizen has rights and duties. A citizen should not wait for the effectiveness of its rights to fulfill its shorten it, definitively I agree with Micheal.

I surely think one should pay taxes, even if in the informal sector. Infact they do pay, in terms of state  charges on products that they buy, cosumables or whatever. 

Paying taxes builds the case to clamour for services too. One will have a rightful claim. 

Access to health and education is a basic human right.
Yes. We all agree with this principle.
However, health and education have a cost. Money is needed for that!
So, saying citizens have rights is a bit short. Beside "rights" there are "duties".
Limiting the question only on paying taxes is too narrow.
The fact is that it is much more complex than that.
If a citizen has "rights" and "duties" the state has also "rights" and "duties".
It has to be put inside the relation between "civil society" and "state (and its 3 bodies)"

The question: "which came first the egg or the chicken?" is true for a given time.
But we are facing with very long and complex processes to put in place.
Only one piece is missing or weak and all the process is becoming questionable.

It is evident that our discussions here are closely related to the discussions on the formalisation of the informal economy. That is, if we consider formalisation to include the organisation of informal economy entrepreneurs/ workers into associations and then registering with the government as one type of formalisation. In many countries, for example Ethiopia, the registration of an association and its members is recognised as formalisation. Such associations then have rights and also duties, as previous contributors have said.  

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Info posted by

Francesco Barilli
3 November 2015

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