African Tax Administration Forum pursues Capacity Building
The Rwanda Revenue Authority hosted the Council of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) meeting from June 2-3, 2011 in Kigali (Rwanda) which was attended by top tax officials from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) was represented by its Commissioner General, Mr Gershem T Pasi.

 

 

 

The Council focused on multinational enterprises, the need for stronger legal framework, enhancing transparent processes and increasing intra-African trade.

In her keynote address, the Permanent Secretary for Finance in Rwanda, Mrs Kampeta Pitchete Sayinzoga, highlighted three main aspects that are crucial in economic integration in Africa. She emphasied that trade should be fostered amongst member countries and political stability should be promoted in order to increase regional trade and consequently stimulate regional investment.

“For some countries, it is easier to trade with Belgium or London rather than South Africa or Kenya and that's not normal. There should be a catalyst to trade within the continent, not obstacles,” said Mrs Sayinzoga.

The Council also focused on issues involving auditing of multinational enterprises, tax treaties and transfer pricing, the reform of tax administrations, exchange of information and tax avoidance as well as combating bribery in the region.

A resolution was passed to curb the undesirable prevalent capital flight and leakage through aggressive tax avoidance in some multinational enterprises. African revenue administrations pledged to come up with strategies aimed at making these multinational enterprises comply with legal tax obligations.

The meeting cited the need to adopt a new approach towards tax collection in Africa by ensuring that it is not just technical or administrative, but would also help support social and economic development. It was resolved that effective tax administration can also have wide-ranging political significance in entrenching accountability and promoting the relationship between the taxpayer and government.

ATAF was established in August 2008 during a conference attended by African tax administrators. Its main objective was to become the central platform for African administrators to articulate African tax priorities, develop and share best practices in the region and build capacity in African tax policy. Its key priorities are to promote efficient tax administration and to foster economic growth and improved service delivery for the improvement of living standards of people in Africa. ATAF also strives to encourage and support new partnerships in African countries to develop the capacity of tax administrators to achieve their revenue objective. Currently, ATAF has 54 member states.

 
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