ATAF RE-ELECTS FOWLER AS AFRICAN TAX CHIEF

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Chairman, Joint Tax Board (JTB), Mr. Tunde Fowler, has been re-elected as Council Chairman of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) for a fresh term of two years. This was disclosed in a press release signed by Wahab Gbadamosi, FIRS Head of Communications and Servicom Department.

According to the release, Fowler was unanimously returned unopposed by all ATAF Council members at the Forum’s 5th General Assembly Meeting, held in October in Gaborone, Botswana. Mr. Fowler who has commendably led the organization over the past two years had his candidature supported by all 26 countries that participated in the elections.

Under Fowler, ATAF has made tremendous strides. Last year in Abuja, ATAF launched the landmark ATAF Transfer Pricing Toolkit, which is assisting African countries to prevent huge financial losses through new Transfer Pricing Rules. Many African Tax Authorities are leveraging on the Toolkit to contain financial leakages from their economy.  Also, ATAF under Fowler has given Africa a global voice in global tax matters.

ATAF is leading the world in Africa’s position on Tax Affairs, with its representation on High Level Talks on stemming Illicit Financial Flows (IFF). Under Fowler, the Forum has also launched the African Tax Outlook, through which African Tax administrations are sharing data. It has equally strengthened the capacities of African Tax Administration Authorities, within its organization in terms of quality technical training.

While declaring the conference open, Fowler noted that attendance of 35 countries at the event (out of 38 members) reflected the value and appreciation attached to the role ATAF continues to play in leading and shaping tax matters on the African Continent, adding that the attendance reinforces members support for and participation in the ATAF agenda.

The ATAF Chairman stated that the ATAF Council considers the General Assembly as pivotal in ATAF’s journey; in his words, “we take cognizance of the fact that this is the tenth year of its operations and as such, we are delighted that for the last two years, as the Council, we have been deeply engaged in providing the organization with the direction required to meet its mandate to support the forging of effective and efficient tax systems in Africa.”

Similarly, Fowler noted that the foundation and current health of the organization is robust and ready to propel the work of ATAF into the next 10 years in terms of productivity and focused support for Africa as articulated in the Agenda 2063.

“The work of the organization is at the peak of its visibility, both at the continental level and globally. The recent recognition of ATAF’s work by the African Union during the July Assembly of its Heads of State and Government in Mauritania as well as the most recent acceptance of ATAF as a member to two sub committees, of the UN Experts on Mutual Tax Matters (ODA and Tax Treaties), is a clear manifestation of the global and continental recognition and endorsement of ATAF as the leading voice on African taxation. This is a vision that we, as Council, have steadily promoted, in our tenure, and we have no doubt the new Council will strengthen and advance this vision,” he stated.

The ATAF Chairman, who is also the first Vice Chairman of the United Nations International Experts on Tax Matters, noted that the theme of the 5th General Assembly, “Moving Africa Beyond Aid through Tax Revenue Mobilization,” was key to sustainable development in Africa.

While acknowledging the importance of aid to Africa’s self-sustainability and to development when well utilized, he urged African countries to look inwards, modernize their tax systems and generate revenue through increased effectiveness in tax mobilization.

“This is indeed more sustainable and reliable for development and since it happened elsewhere, there is no reason why it cannot happen in Africa.  It is critical that we deepen our engagement with development partners to ensure that their promised support is efficiently delivered and effectively used and that we tap into their experience as we shape the tax agenda for our continent,” he emphasized.

Established in 2009, ATAF, the continental association of tax authorities, has 38 members. Mr. Tunde Fowler succeeded Mr. Gershem T. Pasi, the Commissioner- General of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, in 2016.

 



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