Commonwealth Tax Administrators begins conference in Abuja

The Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA), begin a 3-day technical conference in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Monday.

This year’s Technical Conference hosted by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is to run from November 28 to December 1, 2022, with the theme: “Tax Administration in the Digital Era.”

While declaring the Conference open, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha said, Nigeria as a nation is delighted to have Tax administrators, Tax authorities, entities, policy makers who are members of CATA present in Abuja.

Stating that, Nigeria is eager to provide a platform for frontline discussions on issues that have to do with fiscal modifications and dividends of the global economy

Adding that, in the face the social economic challenges, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has deliberately taken steps in creating a conducive environment for business activities to thrive thereby encouraging foreign investor into the country. This he has done with the provision of trade and investment executives, review of past policies and legislation to be done on tax equity and fairness all in the efforts and ease of doing business proper.

‘‘Come and do business in Nigeria, as I am sure that those who have availed themselves to key into will testify that the benefits outweigh the challenges’’.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, the SGF noted that considering the emergence of  destructive technologies, it is no longer news that graphic advancement in science and technology have made it to the completion of mediation channels that have reduced preexisting barriers of trade to its barest minimum, hence the theme for the conference; Tax Administration in the Digital Era is apt at this time

He added that even now, after the worse is presumed to be over, many economics most especially those in developing nations of the world continue to struggle with the face of the global economy development occasioned by COVID-19 and geopolitical conflicts around the world amongst others.

‘‘This conference presents an opportunity to exchange ideas on sustainable financing programme and development initiatives. I trust that you will have a robust conversation and come up with recommendations that can be used in this regard. 

“It is gratifying to see that participants attend this conference despite challenges including travel restrictions, I pray that you have a hitch free transits when you prepare to go back home”.

Finance Minister Tasks CATA to Work towards Strengthening International Tax Rules

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has called on the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrator (CATA) and similar organisations to blend their voices to insist that skewed international tax rules be straightened for the good of all.

 The Minister who made the call on Monday in Abuja during the 42nd annual technical conference, with the theme of this year’s conference, ‘Tax Administration in a Digital Era’ said the theme was 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.  An African adage says “where the hunter has learnt to shoot without missing, the birds that would avoid the hunter’s soup-pot must learn to fly without perching”.  

According to her, “since businesses are evolving from physical presence to virtual place, tax administrations must also shift gear unto the virtual realm. I am hoping that this conference will discuss and recommend solutions to some issues, such as: Digitalisation of Tax Administration

“It is a fact that the tax administrations of most developing countries are based on manual processes.  In these tax administrations, ICT function is limited to provision of hardware and basic software in support capacity, whereas, automation, large data, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities are central to effective tax administration”.

She added that these capabilities will enable tax authorities to do e-invoicing, pre-populate tax returns, carry out automated tax risk profiling, etc. Fair International Tax Rules the current international tax rules are skewed against source countries; particularly, developing countries.

  ” Nigeria is glad that this year’s conference of CATA has come to Abuja the second time following the 2010 conference hosted by this same beautiful city. It is noteworthy that this conference is coming on the heels of the very successful 7th General Assembly of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) held in Lagos a few weeks ago, she added. 

“The choice of Nigeria, as a destination for these important international tax events, is not by accident.  Nigeria has remained in the fore-front of the global efforts at finding equitable and lasting solutions to international tax issues, including: the long-standing issue of imbalance in the allocation of taxing rights between source and resident jurisdictions; information asymmetric between multinational enterprises and tax authorities in developing countries; the issue of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS); and tax challenges of the digitalised economy; Over the past few years, our government committed huge monetary and human resources to champion the cause of developing countries.  Painfully, the skewness in the current international tax rules is again influencing the two-pillar solution of the Inclusive Framework”.  

Tax Administrators are under compulsion to align their mandates with the changes arising from technological advancement-Mohammed Nami

On his part, the CATA President and the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Nami observed that the business world is in a state of flux; while the character of data and its management keeps changing. 

“Consequently, tax administrators are under compulsion to align their mandates with the changes arising from technological advancement”.

According to him, in matching the pace of advancement in technology, tax administrators must remain bound by the laws, regulations and codes that safeguard the sourcing, storage, processing and management of data.

” In diverse ways, all members of CATA have to deal with the challenges that transformational technology has brought to the commercial space and stay ahead of the conversation.

’’As President of CATA and host of this year’s conference, it is my hope that we as revenue authorities with common political history are able to know how we are faring; seize this opportunity to learn from each other as this technical conference serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas on current issues pertaining to tax systems, administration and policies globally.

“The conference is a platform to enhance the capacity of member-nations to develop effective tax administrations that promote sustainable development and good governance,” he said.

CATA is an associated organisation of the Commonwealth, established in 1978 by a decision of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers, with a current membership of 47 Commonwealth countries.

The organisation helps member-countries develop effective tax systems that promote sustainable development and good governance, particularly amongst developing countries.

“Tax Administration in the Digital Era,” as the theme for the conference had been carefully selected “to enable tax administrators interact on how to adapt to the technological revolution, while creating innovative solutions and processes that meet the demand of the modern-day taxation.”

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