Prosper Ndlovu in Kampala, Uganda
The 4th International Conference on Tax in Africa (ICTA) started here yesterday with regional tax administrators, policy makers and key stakeholders expected to tackle challenges facing governments in domestic revenue generation and dealing with digital taxation in particular.
The high level indaba comes at a time when Africa is faced with various tax constraints, which include but not limited to weak domestic laws, poorly negotiated tax treaties, limited technical capacities, tax incentives and limited tax information exchange network.
Digitalisation of the economy across the board has exacerbated these tax policy issues. As such, leaders would seek avenues on how best policymakers and decision-makers can respond to tax challenges caused by digitalisation with a view of addressing a range of tax policy issues affecting Africa. The meeting would also seek to identify the kind of innovations that Africa can embrace to address these issues.
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner general Ms Faith Mazani, and her team, are representing the country in the bi-annual event, which will be officially opened by Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni.
Ms Mazani will be part of a panel of discussion leaders who would assist the conference to unpack the impact of digitisation of the economy on Value Added Tax among other tax heads with focus on the progress made at a global level on leveraging VAT in e-commerce and the sharing economy.
According to the ATAF secretariat, members of the African business community drawn from diverse sectors would have a slot to present their perspectives in the ongoing discussion on the taxation of the digitalised economy. In this session, corporate taxpayers will share their suggestions on the changing tax environment.
The conference brings together African Tax Administrators Forum (ATAF) member states, international organisations, policy makers, academics and civil society organisations to an international conference on tax on the continent.
Of special importance this year, is that ATAF will mark a decade since its inception as the sole African voice on taxation matters, making it a great opportunity to have the climax celebrations during the 4th ICTA Conference.
The theme for the 4th ICTA Conference will be “Innovation – Digitalisation and Harnessing Technology to Improve Tax Systems”.
During the conference, which ends on Friday, delegates will walk through the conference theme in seven tailor-made sessions by exploring innovative solutions to the policy challenges that countries face in dealing with the taxation of digitalised economy, which will inform the global tax debate over the next decade, as well as African policy challenges including international and domestic aspects of the taxation of other key sectors.
Renowned academics such as Prof Annette Oguttu, professor of Tax Law at the University of Pretoria and Prof Bitange Ndemo from the University of Nairobi, would engage delegates on the possible tax innovations landscape in Africa and drive understanding on the implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution on taxation, highlighting opportunities and challenges for the continent.
Further, discussions will look at innovation through use of technology in Africa to strengthen tax systems and develop solutions to tax base broadening, dealing with high net worth individuals, assessment and collection to increase tax efficiency and effectiveness.