The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is hosting 26 African countries under the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) for a three-day knowledge sharing workshop in Monrovia with the aim of ensuring country focal points/data collectors have common understanding of African Tax Outlook collection process.
African Tax Outlook is a statistical data gathering on tax administration on the African Continent which allows tax administrators to converge and compare data in order to learn from each other.
In addition to objectives of the workshop, focal points or collectors will be assisted in the provision of relevant data in accordance with the agreed excel template and guidebook; complete recording data in the excel, do peer learning exchange; share good practices in the day-to-day work of Tax Administration and discuss the way forward of the 3rd edition of the Africa Tax Outlook (ATO).
Giving the significance of Africa Tax Administration Forum following a brief welcoming formality, LRA Commissioner General, Elfrieda Steward-Tamba said as of this third edition of ATO, 26 countries are participating following the first and second editions.
This, she said, is very important in tax administration because it provides information that government and tax authorities can rely on to make an informed decision.
“This is especially good for public officials because for you to make a better decision, you must be informed, and the information needs to be supported by sound statistics,” Mrs. Tamba said.
Madam Tamba said they at LRA have begun using statistics that came as a result of the ATO. She said comparing statistics of other countries with that of Liberia helps them to set a standard that helps to boost revenue generation.
Dr. Nara Monkam, Director of Research of African Tax Administration Forum, also clarified that the workshop for African tax administrators seeks to compare tax policies so that the most appropriate policy to govern tax can be enforced on the continent.
She added that prior to the introduction of ATO, each country has been carrying out its own standard, but now member countries can gather to compare policies and share together how to carry out best practice.
The workshop according to Dr. Monkam helps member countries of ATO to share and gain experience from each other, noting, “When we compare and come to realize what each country does in tax administration, we get the best policy that a country has in place to use in our respective countries.”
According to Dr. Monkam, the program helps African countries in their strides to move from donor dependency to self-dependence through the policy of domestic resource mobilization.
She said ATO began with 15 countries and in the second edition it was increased to 21. “There is donor fatigue now facing African countries that we need to mobilize our own resources to implement our development, and tax is very important in this process,” she noted.
She emphasized the need for other African countries that are not members to join the ATO because as such they will be a part of what is African. According to her, anything short of joining will yield concerned countries to deny themselves of their own identities and information they should have to work with.
Participating countries in the African Tax Administration Forum include Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Benin amongst others.