Abuja – The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) is meeting in Abuja to share ideas on how African countries can boost their revenue bases towards strengthening the economies of the countries in the continent.
The Chairman of ATAF, Mr Gershem Pasi, who is also the Commissioner-General for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, made this known to State House Correspondents on Friday after the ATAF council visited Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the focus of the meeting is in response to the African Union’s insistence on the need for African countries to strengthen their economies.
According to Pasi, the council is prepared to support its 38-member countries to increase revenue generation for their respective countries.
“We have been here as council of ATAF for this week and meting to deliberate on the business of the council.
“But we felt it is important that we brief the Vice President on the work that we are doing across the continent which is basically to support each other in being efficient and effective in raising revenues for our respective governments.
“As you know, our leadership, the AU, has directed that we need to mobilise domestic resources rather than to depend on donors from outside all the time.
“So that is our task as revenue administrators and our meeting here as council is in preparation for the general assembly that will hold for the membership.
“We have 38 members on the continent who are members of ATAF.’’
Pasi said the members of ATAF were working closely to ensure that resources for the development of their various economies were generated locally.
He said the council would meet for one week in Nigeria and come out with a recommendation of the way forward.
He acknowledged the support Osinbajo was giving to the council as encouragement in the discharge of the task before it.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, said Nigeria was lagging behind in tax payment compliance.
He, however, said the situation would be reversed as soon as possible in view of the dwindling oil revenue.
“We all know that when it comes to the area of taxation Nigeria has not been very tax compliant.
“The era of oil is basically over and we are all looking towards taxation to fund the current budget and future budgets.
“So in ATAF, what we discussed were different strategies.
“We exchanged ideas and also tried and learn from each other the best way to move forward to ensure that taxation is brought to the point where we can beat our chest and say that Africa as a continent, is self-sufficient financially through taxation.’’
On the provision of infrastructure for tax payers by governments in the continent, Fowler said the law mandated the people to pay taxes.
He, therefore, advised citizens to pay their taxes and wait for the governments to play their parts.
“Let’s pay the taxes and I am sure the governments in power will use those revenues to the satisfaction of all citizens,’’ Fowler said.
Mr Vijay Ramnundun, the Director of Human Resources and Training of the Mauritius Revenue Authority, told NAN that his country’s 11-year-old agency was ready to tap from the experiences of older revenue agencies in the continent. (NAN)