A West Africa tax administration forum (WATAF) on international initiative at securing tax, has been held in Accra on Wednesday.
The event was sponsored by Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), European Union (EU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Ford Foundation.
It brought together participants from various ECOWAS member states, including Togo, Sierra Leone and Ghana, who were schooled on initiatives targeted at securing tax base globally concept of tax harmonisation as well as new trends adopted for securing the tax base.
The Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, in a speech read on his behalf, said that the training was to encourage the collaboration and sharing of information on tax administration among ECOWAS member states.
This according to the minister would help to improve the quality of tax administrators, and ensure that all West African member states spoke with one voice on tax policy and administration.
He noted that it was through sustained training of tax administrators that countries could improve the tax base to increase revenue.
“This is so because such training sessions provide opportunities for tax administrators from different countries to improve their professional skills, capacities, share experiences and compare notes to arrive at best practices,” Mr. Terkpe said.
The minister noted that the world was developing as a result of improved technologies, processes and practices and there was the need for revenue professionals and tax administrators to improve their skills.
Mr. Terkper commended WATAF for the initiative and urged the group to sustain its training sessions, to help update the skills of revenue professionals in the West African sub-region, urged the participants to be abreast of current developments concerning their profession.
The Commissioner General GRA, Mr. George Blankson, said that, it was crucial for revenue administrators understand tax laws, procedures and processes.
He said payment of taxes maybe barriers to the free movement of goods, services or production, adding that “tax harmonisation is a tool which can help remove some of these barriers”.
Mr. Blankson said that for tax harmonisation to succeed among member country of WATAF, there was the need to adopt a common code of conduct to inform and guide tax policy formulation and imposition of sanctions when the code was breached.
By Benedicta Folley