‘Jail High Profile People’, ATAF Challenges Governments

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Sandton, South Africa — The head of international taxation and technical assistance, Mary Baine, has challenged African governments “to jail high profile people” who are fingered in perpetrating illicit financial flows.

Mrs. Baine made the statement during the opening of a three-day media engagement and training, organized by the African Tax Administration Forum in Sandton,  Johannesburg, South Africa.

“This will send a strong anti-corruption message. Criminality becomes a challenge to legitimacy of the state and this affects revenue collection,” she said.

Mrs. Baine suggested the strengthening of legal frameworks should be accompanied by aggressive anti-corruption and money laundering measures and promotion of good governance, transparency, professionalism, as well as efficient judicial enforcement.

“The key reason for the taxpayer’s compliance is the acceptance by the citizens that the state is legitimate and credible. Without such acceptance governments will have difficulty in securing sufficient resources to govern or develop the state,” she said.

The ATAF’s head of international taxation further said the ATAF’s training was intended to help participants, including journalists and tax authorities, to broaden their understanding on taxation and state building.

Her presentation also focused on setting the context of the significance that taxation has in sustaining nations and promoting development on the continent.

She also looked at the expectations citizens have towards their governments, based on the taxes they pay and the role of the media in educating, informing, criticizing and putting to light the gaps that citizens feel from the contracts government entered with them.

Earlier, ATAF’s executive secretary, Logan Wort, said effective revenue collection is key to development in every country; hence the need for tax authorities to work closely with citizens, to ensure compliance.

He said this should include close partnership with the media in rolling out educational programs that promote transparency and accountability.

Meanwhile, during the workshop, journalists and tax administrators discussed a number of topics covering aspects of trends in taxation in Africa, taxation in state building, reporting on tax matters and various news opportunities, as well as how the media can positively impact the work of tax administrations in their respective countries.

The three-day media engagement and training, which began on March 26 to 28, has come to an end in South Africa.

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