WATAF collaborates with the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) on capacity building workshop for heads of Research and Planning of ECOWAS member countries on the African Tax Outlook (ATO)

The West African Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) in collaboration with the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) organised a capacity building workshop for heads of Research and Planning of ECOWAS member countries on the African Tax Outlook (ATO), a compendium of tax statistics across Africa from 13 -14 December 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria.

In attendance at the workshop were participants from Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Nigeria (the Host) complimented by experts from the African Tax Administration Forum.

Born out of the desire to promote evidence based and sound policy formulation the ATO, a flagship publication of ATAF is fast gaining ground as a credible source for tax statistics and information on tax systems in Africa.

At the opening session of the workshop, the Executive Secretary, WATAF Mr. Babatunde Oladapo while welcoming participants, highlighted the importance of sound tax statistics as an enabler for tax administrations in the performance of their statutory responsibility of collecting adequate revenue for funding the development of their countries. He also lauded the collaboration between WATAF, ATAF and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) to host the workshop as a right step in the direction for fostering economic resilience in Africa.

On her part, the Director Research at ATAF, Dr Nara Monkam chronicled the in-roads this seminal ATAF publication has made in the international tax arena as a one- of- a- kind publication produced by African tax administrations, using tax statistics to tell their own stories.Dr Monkam also, noted the historical significance of the coming on board of the six (6) WATAF members to increase the ATO coverage to 36 countries.

Before declaring the workshop open, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and Chairman of ATAF Council, Mr Tunde Fowlernoted that the collaboration between ATAF and WATAF would help tax administrations to perfect the act of data management which he opined would help to plug tax revenue leakages. He also, emphasised the importance of the development of effective domestic resource mobilisation by African countries with tax administrations being in the driver’s seat towards achieving the African Union’s agenda of a self-sustaining and economically prosperous Africa by 2063.

Over its three (3) years existence, the ATO has enjoyed incremental success. 15 ATAF member countries took part in the 2016 ATO edition which was successfully launched in June 2016 while 21 Tax administrations took part in the 2017 ATO publication which was launched in August 2017, in Kampala. The 2018 ATO publication was published and launched in July 2018, in Kigali and included 26 Tax administrations.

It is recognition of the many benefits of the ATO publication that WATAF initiated the collaboration with ATAF in order to ensure tax statistics of WATAF member countries are captured in subsequent editions of the publication.

Participants were equally enthralled by the array of information and expertise exchanged during the highly interactive two (2) day workshop.

These six (6) counties officially joining the ATAF’s ATO project in Abuja is another step toward covering the entire continent and improving African Tax Systems through the collection of revenue statistics and in-depth analysis.