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Adedeji to tax administrators: Provide local solutions to Africa’s challenges

Some of the participants at the meeting. |Image: FIRS

FIRS hosts ATAF council meeting in Lagos

By Valentine Amanze

The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Zacch Adedeji, has advised tax administrators in Africa to look for local solutions to the continent’s challenges rather than turning to the Western world for assistance.

In a statement issued by Dare Adekanmb, his Special Adviser on Media, Adedeji, gave the advice at a three-day council meeting of African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) hosted by FIRS in Lagos, recently.

The FIRS chairman, who is the president of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA), said that practicable solutions to address the challenges confronting the continent, particularly in the area of local resource mobilisation, could “only come from wearers who know where the shoe pinches.”

He, therefore, urged member-countries to take ATAF matters seriously and abide by the rules, stressing that the success of continental body depends on collective efforts to showcase the best Africa has to offer.

Also read: Why Nigeria loses $4b yearly at ports, by FIRS

His words: “The problem of Africa can only be sincerely solved by Africans. I charge you all to redouble efforts to make sure we prioritise the activities of ATAF.

“In Nigeria, we are giving you our commitment that we will prioritise anything that has to do with ATAF, recognising that solutions to our challenges reside with us in Africa.

“Nobody can tell our stories better than ourselves. We cannot continue to rely on solutions from platforms that are not indigenous to us.

“We must ensure the sustainability of the organisation and uphold the tenets of ATAF founding agreement and rules and be committed to abiding by them in our decision-making processes.

“The management of the secretariat is also vital to the success of the organisation, and we must prioritise the process of a smooth transition in this meeting, as the term of the current Executive Secretary comes to an end in March 2025 when Mr Logan Wort will have served for 16 years of meritorious efforts. Nigeria joins the rest of ATAF members to applaud and honour Mr Wort.”

Also, ATAF vice chairman and Commissioner General of South African Revenue Service, Edward Kieswetter, said that the body had been providing a platform for members to build not just human capacity but also synergises in the area of technology.

“The world has moved on and technology and data are increasingly defining the work we do. ATAF creates a common voice when we speak at the broader community of interests in the world like Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) or the World Bank.

“ATAF Council is the arm that oversees and provides strategic leadership on behalf of all the members. The Council meets twice in a year and reports back to the General Assembly attended by all the members,” he said.

At the Lagos council meeting were ATAF chairman, Dr Philippe Tchodie (Togo); Kieswetter from South Africa; Mrs Jeanette Makgolo (Botswana); Adedeji (Nigeria); Mr Pascal Ruganintwali (Rwanda); Mr Dingani Banda (Zambia)

Others were Ms Laila Benchekroun (Morocco); Mr Georges Bigirimana (Burundi); Mr Laban Simbeye (Zambia); Mr Ebou Jallow (The Gambia); Mr Dennis Kugonza (Uganda); Mr Logan Wort, who runs the secretariat as ATAF Executive Secretary.

Headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa, ATAF is an international organisation established in 2009 to provide a common platform for African tax administrators to build capacity, achieve revenue objectives and advance the role of taxation in African governance and state building.

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