The Regional Administration Advisor of the African Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC), Madam Faith Mazani, has disclosed that tax compliance in Africa, especially countries including Ghana, the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia and Cape Verde, remains a challenge to revenue administrators.
She said AFRITAC is primarily engaged in tax administration and building capacities of administrators in the revenue sector, but told reporters in an interview on October 24 in Monrovia that tax compliance in these countries is very low.
Madam Mazani said unlike developed countries where tax compliance is voluntarily done, it is difficult for the African region and will require the political will of governments in these countries to ensure companies pay their taxes.
She made the comment at the beginning of a two-week capacity building workshop for tax administrators from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Gambia and Liberia at a resort in Monrovia.
Highlighting some expectations from the workshop, Madam Mazani said tax administrators have been using the traditional style to analyze data. The traditional style, according to the AFRITAC Regional Administration Adviser, involves working with paper documents without computer knowledge.
She said it is for this reason that AFRITAC in partnership with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is conducting the ‘training of trainers’ workshop in order to build tax administrators’ capacities to do their work using technology.
She said with this training, the capacities of participants will be built to enable them to train their revenue staff to collective lawful revenues in their respective countries.
Also speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, noted that having competent auditors with integrity will break the stronghold of tax payers who continue to remain unscrupulous.
She recalled that when the LRA began operation on July 1, 2014, the administrators concentrated on transforming and implementing their agenda in consonance with their administrative obligations.
Commissioner Tamba said, “The African continent and our region are irreversibly on a smarter path to ensure the acquisition of the requisite competency to tackle mispricing, underpricing, smuggling, illicit flows, transfer pricing, among others.”
She added that sustainable development depends on revenue administrators; and therefore, they must work based on best practice. She further indicated that “this will save our respective countries from revenue skirmishes.”
She urged participants and facilitators to come up with recommendations that will help facilitate honest revenue collection in their respective countries.