ATAF elects new coun­cil

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Oliver Kazunga Se­nior Busi­ness Re­porter

THE African Tax Ad­min­is­tra­tion Fo­rum (ATAF) has elected a new gov­ern­ing coun­cil led by Nige­ria’s Fed­eral In­land Rev­enue Ser­vices chair­man Mr Ba­batunde Fowler.

The new coun­cil to lead the or­gan­i­sa­tion for the next two years was elected at the fo­rum’s re­cently held 4th Gen­eral As­sem­bly in Dur­ban, South Africa.

Other mem­bers of the coun­cil elected were Mau­ri­tius as vice chair, Uganda, Bu­rundi, Swazi­land, Ghana, Liberia, and Tan­za­nia.

Zim­babwe is a mem­ber of the ATAF, a premier Pan African tax or­gan­i­sa­tion while South Africa holds a per­ma­nent seat on the fo­rum’s coun­cil.

Mr Fowler pledged in his ac­cep­tance speech to bring on board North African coun­tries to join the ATAF so that they ben­e­fit from the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“It is my fer­vent hope that by the end of my ten­ure I would have man­aged to rope in North African coun­tries and en­cour­age greater par­tic­i­pa­tion and rep­re­sen­ta­tion from Fran­co­phone coun­tries,” Mr Fowler was quoted as say­ing.

The fo­rum pro­vides a plat­form for the con­ti­nent’s rev­enue au­thor­i­ties to ar­tic­u­late African tax pri­or­i­ties, de­velop and shape best prac­tices and build ca­pac­ity in tax pol­icy and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Its mem­ber­ship com­prises 38 tax ad­min­is­tra­tions across the African con­ti­nent.

Mr Fowler promised to con­tinue with the in­sti­tu­tional devel­op­ment that the pre­vi­ous coun­cil had im­ple­mented and ad­vanced.

The re­newal of the ten­ure of the in­cum­bent ATAF ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary Mr Lo­gan Wort of South Africa by an­other four years was an­other ma­jor high­light of the event.

Mr Wort’s ten­ure of ser­vice was sched­uled to ex­pire in March 2017 but the Gen­eral As­sem­bly en­dorsed the coun­cil’s rec­om­men­da­tion to ex­tend his con­tract to March 2021.

Mr Wort also pledged to work closely with the newly-elected ATAF coun­cil to em­bark on a mas­sive mem­ber­ship com­mit­ment drive to en­sure the fo­rum strives to pro­vide a plat­form to im­prove the per­for­mance of tax ad­min­is­tra­tion in Africa.

The 4th ATAF Gen­eral As­sem­bly held un­der the theme “Har­ness­ing the African Cash Econ­omy: Con­tribut­ing To­wards Ex­pan­sion of the African Tax Base,” saw at least 25 mem­ber coun­tries de­lib­er­at­ing on op­er­a­tional and gov­er­nance is­sues that in­clude un­der­stand­ing the cash econ­omy, tax eva­sion, base ero­sion and profit shift­ing.

The fo­rum has pledged to fo­cus on broad­en­ing the African tax base through among oth­ers, fo­cus­ing on il­licit fi­nan­cial flows and Africa’s cross border tax­a­tion es­pe­cially the im­pact of multi-na­tional en­ter­prises.

ATAF will fo­cus on ex­trac­tive in­dus­tries, trade mis­pric­ing and VAT as im­por­tant el­e­ments of im­prov­ing the African rev­enue base. — @okazunga

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