The Minister of Finance and Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has canvassed for more effective and efficient mobilisation of resource and tax administration among member countries of the Economic Community of West African States to enhance the development of the sub-region.
She made the submission at the meeting of the West Africa Tax Administration Forum (Wataf) held in Abuja, where she noted that information sharing among member countries was also critical to resource mobilisation and revenue generation.
Wataf is the association of apex tax regulatory institutions in the West African sub region.
The minister, who spoke through Alhaji Kabir Mashi, acting executive chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), assured that the Nigerian finance ministry would continue to maintain a keen interest in the work of Wataf, as it is “expected to assist in developing strong tax administration in West African countries and make them well positioned to generate revenue for governments within the region so as to meet their huge developmental needs.”
According to her, “this initiative agrees with the global focus on domestic resource mobilization especially for developing nations and I believe that West African countries can use this forum as a platform towards achieving our individual and collective developmental goals.”
said she was pleased that FIRS had taken the lead in implementing the provisions of the National Tax Policy as regards wide network on international and regional treaties. She noted that membership of such international bodies helps to promote both international and regional cooperation in the areas of exchange of information, capacity building and collaboration in tax policy and administration.
The minister added that “this forum was established less than a year ago here in Nigeria with the stated objective of bringing together tax agencies within the West Africa sub-region for the purpose of collaboration and exchange of information aimed at improving the overall quality of tax administration in the different jurisdictions overseen by the tax agencies.”
Okonjo-Iweala said the forum seeks to create a platform that will enable tax agencies in the region have a common position on tax policy and administration matters.’
The meeting represented a major step in achieving the vision to make Wataf a major voice on tax policy and administration in the region. It was conceived to enable the region find a common solution to issues on general tax administration and revenue generation that would facilitate the developmental agenda of member nations.
No fewer than 30 delegates from Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Bukina Faso attended the meeting, which focused principally on the Drafting of a Legal Framework for the formal establishment of the forum and the proposing ofan Organisational Structure for the forum, drafting of a Memorandum of Cooperation and Multilateral Agreement as well as Presentation of Tax Policies of various countries in the sub-region. The theme of the meeting is “Sharing Experiences in Best Practices in Tax Administration.”