The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Monday challenged member countries of the Economic Community of West African States to come up with tax treaties that would help to mobilise resources for the development of the region.
Okonjo-Iweala gave the challenge in Abuja at the fourth meeting of the West Africa Tax Administration Forum. The theme of the meeting was, ‘Sharing experiences in best practices in tax administration.’
No fewer than 30 delegates from Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso attended the meeting, which focused principally on the drafting of a legal framework for the formal establishment of the forum and the organisational structure for the body.
The minister stressed the need for effective and efficient mobilisation of resource for the region, adding that information sharing among member countries was also critical to resource mobilisation and revenue generation.
Okonjo-Iweala, who was represented by the Acting Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Alhaji Kabir Mashi, said, “As the Ministry of Finance, we will maintain a keen interest in the work of WATAF, which is expected to assist in developing strong tax administration in West African countries and make them well positioned to generate revenue for governments within the region so as to meet their huge developmental needs.
“This initiative agrees with the global focus on domestic resource mobilisation, especially for developing nations, and I believe that West African countries can use this forum as a platform towards achieving our individual and collective developmental goals.’’
The minister said the FIRS had taken the lead in implementing the provisions of the National Tax Policy as regards wide network on international and regional treaties.
According to her, membership of such international bodies is necessary to help to promote both international and regional cooperation in the areas of exchange of information, capacity building and collaboration in tax policy and administration.