Kampala- The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) that was launched on Wednesday in Kampala has called for a platform to promote and facilitate mutual cooperation among African tax administrations.
The two days forum which is fully represented by officials from Rwanda will identify mechanism that may allow combating tax evasion especially by means of agreements for collecting, analyzing and disseminating relevant tax information.
The new body was officially launched by Yoweri Museveni, the President of the republic of Uganda at a gala dinner.
Addressing 125 delegates from 26 African tax bodies, donor agencies and multinational organisations, Museveni urged delegates to take up the enormous challenge of mobilizing tax revenue for Africa’s development.
“This challenge has been further compounded by the international financial crisis, a slowdown in trade and capital flight”, said Museveni.
Commenting on the formation of the tax forum, Chairperson of the ATAF steering group, Oupa Magashura Commissioner for the South African revenue service said, “the formation of a continental tax administration forum reflects a new approach and thinking on tax in Africa.”
“The challenge of optimal revenue collection to fund domestic development is a challenge for all Africa and the developing world. Today with the global financial crisis facing all of us, there is a need for a strong tax administration system that is efficient” said Magashura.
Magashura further noted that, “the formation of a continental tax administration forum is a significant move away from dealing with tax collection in a purely technical or administrative manner to a deeper understanding the role of taxation in developing countries”.
Uganda Revenue Authority pledges to the total commitment of the realization of the forum” said Allen Kagina the Commission General for Uganda Revenue Authority said in her opening address.
The conference that was first held in Pretoria, South Africa in 2008, mandated a steering group of seven countries which include Botswana, Rwanda, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda, to work towards the establishment of the forum.
The forum shall give tax administrators in Africa a strong, collective voice in international engagements, through the adoption of the common approach to taxation issues.