In response to dwindling revenues across the region, Tax collecting agencies in all the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have commenced a 2-day forum to come up with practicable ways to increase domestic revenue mobilisation, in Abuja.
Speaking at the first major stakeholder meeting of the Support Program for Tax Transition in West Africa (PATF) yesterday, chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mohammad Nami said the prevailing health and economic challenges in the region has made it urgent for the revenue agencies to ensure results for the respective member-states.
The programme focused on domestic revenue mobilization. It is to brainstorm on ways to address issues affecting tax collection the region.
A committee with representatives of ECOWAS and UEMOA commissions had been created with a mandate to develop the technical and professional skills of the tax and customs administrations, in order to guarantee them a better increase in domestic revenue, following the decline in revenue linked to efforts to improve the free movement of people and goods and come up with a practical guide on improving the management of VAT in the region.
Mr Nami said the mission provides an opportunity to have a regional methodology guide for the evaluation of tax expenditures
“It is imperative for our countries to have national databases and a regional platform,” he said in an opening speech.
“I would therefore like to invite you to complete your work as soon as possible, but above all to propose innovative, realistic and feasible recommendations.
“Our various governments are facing health and security difficulties; in this context, they greatly need these results.”
Earlier, director, public finances and fiscal affairs at WAIMO, Habass Teaore said the event is to expand “our domestic tax collection and reduce fraudulent tax evasion. It is to build capacity of member countries.”
ECOWAS director of trade, custom union, Tientore Salifor acknowledged that it was very important that ECOWAS members mobilise tax revenue and ensure the adoption of international standard.”
“The forum has given us an opportunity to share experience, compare notes and come up with ways to drive tax system in the region,” he stated.