UN SG pushes for wealth tax on those who profited during pandemic

UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged governments on Monday to impose a “solidarity or wealth tax” on the rich who made money during the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to reduce inequality.

“We must make sure funds go where they are needed most. Latest reports indicate that there has been a $5 trillion surge in the wealth of the world’s richest in the past year,” Guterres stated at a UN meeting on development financing.

Executive Director of the World Food Program David Beasley expressed a similar sentiment in September, urging the private sector and the “2,000 billionaires in the world with a collective net worth of $8 trillion” to step up.

Guterres also said the 20 richest nations should extend debt suspension into 2022 and expand it to help developing and middle-income economies recover from the pandemic.

Guterres also called for COVID-19 vaccines to be made available to all countries and appealed for more funding for the COVAX vaccine sharing facility.

“Advancing an equitable global response and recovery from the pandemic is putting multilateralism to the test. So far, it is a test we have failed. The vaccination effort is one example,” he said. “Just 10 countries across the world account for around 75 percent of global vaccinations.”