—–to partner with ECOWAS
An inaugural meeting of Heads of West Africa Tax Administrators Forum (WATAF) ended on Monday 12, September with a resolve to collaborate and share information that would improve quality of tax administration among member states.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting which held at the Rockview Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital the forum decided to work with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) to ensure a structure that would be dedicated to taxation.
The communique was co-signed by the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Ifueko Omoigui Okauru of Nigeria, Mariama Soumanou of Benin, Nii Ayi Aryeetey of Ghana, Andrew Paygar of Liberia and Mamour Joof of Gambia.
It stated that the forum would ensure that ECOWAS member states speak with one voice on tax policy and administration matters in Africa Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) as well as other international tax organizations.
The meeting agreed that the chairman of the forum would be the Head of the Tax Administration in the country of the Chairman chairing the ECOWAS and he or she is expected to provide the secretariat during his tenure.
It also agreed to ensure signing of tax treaties, exchange of information agreements and memoranda of understanding amongst member states of ECOWAS.
Earlier, welcoming members, Okauru said that the inaugural meeting presented an opportunity for putting in motion the first steps towards becoming a prominent voice within Africa.
She said that the meeting equally presented an opportunity for members to exchange ideas on issues relating to the development and modernisation of tax system in the region, capacity building, reform of tax legislation and engagement with the international tax organization among others.
“There is no doubt that WATAF presents a unique opportunity for us to put heads together and deliberates on issues, agree on strategy and actions plans for achieving the goals of regional integration, cooperation and collaboration.
In this regard, we should commit to ensuring that this inaugural meeting is a success and deliberations and resolutions at this meeting serve as a platform for achieving our overall goals. In my role as a host, I will do all that is necessary to ensure that we carry out our deliberations in a conducive and hospitable environment.
I also commit to facilitating any interactions as may be required by member countries at this meeting and therefore, let us see our roles here as that of service to our respective countries, the West Africa sub-region and of course, Africa as a continent,’’ Okauru said.
The meeting also featured other presentations which include, Status of ECOWAS, Tax Treaty Network and Exchange of Information, African Tax Administration, Update on ATAF Working Groups, Inter-Agency Cooperation and Administrative Modalities.
The Managing Director of ECO Bank, Mr. Jubril Aku, represented by Mr. Godson Ukpevo, Head Domestic of the Bank presented a paper titled Doing Business in Africa “Tax Issues Assessment’’,
The meeting of the WATAF is expected to hold quarterly with the next meeting slated for December 12, 2011 in Monrovia, Liberia as heads of tax administrations are encouraged to be actively involved in the programme of the forum.