A two-day African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) to improve on the tax management systems on the continent has opened in Accra.
The conference on the theme: “Designing and Implementing VAT systems in a globalised economy”, is to lay a strong basis for a new approach to African taxation, state building and capacity development.”
Mr. George Blankson, the Commissioner-General, Ghana Revenue Authority, speaking at the opening ceremony, said Value Added Tax (VAT) was the appropriate mechanism for revenue generation for government.
He said for the VAT to effectively work, there was the need to consistently re-design and implement strategies for its effectiveness.
“VAT has various advantages, especially when stakeholders relate it to the financial system,” he said.
Mr. Blankson said VAT was a tool for the African continent to develop, especially where the majority of its working population were in the informal sector of the economy.
“In Africa, where the informal sector is big, VAT is an effective tax collection system to generate revenue,” he said.
Mr. Lincoln Marais, the Director, Strategy and Planning ATAF, said the objective of the forum was also to develop tools to help the African continent to effectively collaborate in the tax administration.
He said the forum was established in order to create a platform to promote and facilitate mutual cooperation among African tax administrators.
He said the forum was in the process of developing a tax rule to guide all member countries and expressed the hope that the outcome of the conference would help members in the global tax administration system.
Eighteen countries are participating in the regional conference. Topics being discussed include the challenges of designing and implementing effective VAT/GST systems and the impact of varied rates and thresholds, neutrality in VAT/ GST system, applying and implementing VAT to cross-border transactions- the destination principles in business to business trade.