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Commonwealth nations advocate reforms in tax administration

Members of Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators, CATA on Monday converged on Abuja to discuss issues in tax administration.

At the commencement of the three day event, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami called for the harmonisation of tax systems to block leakages and shore up revenue for government.

CATA an associated organization of the Commonwealth, established in 1978 and now headed by the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr Nami, helps member-countries to develop effective tax systems. 

Mr.Nami, emphasized the importance of the use of technology for tax administration, hence the choice of the theme: Tax administration in digital era”.

“We must understand that the road ahead is still long, steep and daunting. Our challenges only get tougher as we forge ahead because technology is transforming daily, and the trends are novel and uncharted. As tax administrators of the Commonwealth heritage, it is fair to assume that our challenges, in this regard, would have similar identities and similar solutions. It is imperative that we take advantage of the occasion of this Conference to share and discuss with one another the challenges we face and the solutions we are proffering. This conference will be an avenue to improve our individual capacities as Tax Authorities, as well as our collective strength as a body’’, He maintained.

Also the Executive Director of CATA, Duncan Onduru who called for collaboration among tax administrators said the conference was an opportunity for member countries to learn from each other. 

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs Zainab Ahmed expressed the belief that the conference would proffer solutions to tax administration challenges.

”Over the past few years, our government committed huge monetary and human resources to champion the cause of developing countries.  It is important for CATA and similar organizations to blend their voices with ours to insist that skewed international tax rules be straightened for the good of all”.

”The theme of this year’s conference, I am told, is “Tax Administration in a Digital Era”. This is very apt and timely considering that the business world had moved away from the “brick and mortal” model unto the fast-paced, globalised and digitalised model. Certainly, tax administrative processes must keep pace with changes in the business world”, she maintained.

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed called for a review of tax rules and urged member nations to maintain international standards.

For the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, Nigeria would continue to provide platforms for financial discourse.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration had put in place an enabling environment and policies for businesses to thrive.

Boss Mustapha explained that Digitalization of taxation and Businesses would enhance tax compliance, adding that if tax matters were properly handled; the issues of financial borrowing among developing countries would be a thing of the past.

The conference of the commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators had in attendance participants from 47member countries.

Reporting by Annabel Nwachukwu