Minister calls for robust, effective tax regimes in Africa

Adeosun said this at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Tax in Africa (ICTA), organised by the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF).

Adeosun said this at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Tax in Africa (ICTA), organised by the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) with the  title “building strong domestic tax regimes in Africa”.

She said that there was no rich country with a poor tax system and there was also no poor country with a strong tax system.

“ So we need to develop a predictable and transparent tax administration that can guarantee efficient flow of revenue.

“We can do it. Interestingly, there is a collective reawakening in Africa; outside Africa, there is a general feeling of putting their country first. Now, it is time to put Africa first.

“In Nigeria, we are working hard to improve transparency in the system so as to boost confidence of tax payers.

“They need to know their money is well utilised to ensure they will be willing to pay tax.

“We also need legislative and judicial support to deal with willful tax evaders. Today, we have the lowest tax to GDP in the world at six per cent.

“We are ready to take on it and correct it going forward”, Adeosun said.

The Executive Secretary of ATAF, Mr Logan Wort, said that Domestic Resource Mobilisation (DRM) was critical in closing of financing gap mainly via taxes which remains key in ensuring economic buoyancy of Africa.

Wort explained that DRM is a generation of savings from domestic resources that can be deployed for socio-economic development, adding that this could happen through both the public and private sectors

“DRM is also recognised as a top priority for financing development by the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the Monterrey Consensus (2003), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Ninth African Development Forum and the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows.

“The implementation of the UN Agenda on meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the AU’s Agenda 2063, hinge on Africa’s ability to mobilise domestic resources to fund development.

“It is important to note that the total estimate of financing the SDGs is approximately $120 billion and closing of this financing gap across nearly 100 developing countries, will require a tripling of the current level of country aid.

“I am excited by high calibre content our participants will be getting their teeth into; from boosting revenue during trying economic times to accelerating investment, addressing VAT leakages to looking at VAT and digital economy,’’ Wort said.

The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Tunder Fowler, said that ATAF was an African network of 39 states with the aim of improving tax systems in Africa since its formation in 2009.

Fowler said improved tax systems increased accountability of states to its citizens; enhances domestic resource mobilisation; reduces over reliance on aids from developed countries and exploitation of natural resources for funding Africa development agenda.

“ATAF has been in the forefront of championing the cause of taxation in Africa, through the exchange of information, knowledge dissemination, capacity development and active contributions to the region and global tax agenda.

“ATAF strives to build and become the leader on African tax matters by way of efficient and effective tax administrations to improve the living standards of the people of Africa by providing a voice for African countries on regional and global platforms."

It also strives to influence the international tax debate.

According to him, ATAF provides a common platform to fight harmful tax practices such as illicit financial flows, Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) which has plagued the African continent in recent times.

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