The Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Madam Elfrieda Stewart Tamba has been inducted as Chair of the West Africa Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) at the 11th General Assembly of the heads of West Africa Tax Administrations held in Dakar Senegal.
According to a press release, WATAF is the ECOWAS’ auxiliary for all tax administrations in West Africa. In her inaugural address recently in Dakar, Mrs. Tamba thanked her predecessor and all members of the WATAF Secretariat hosted by Nigeria Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) for the hard work and strives made to achieve WATAF 15/16 goals.
She specifically acknowledged ECOWAS, GIZ, Ford Foundation, EU and the Nigeria Government for their continuous support towards the achievement of the mission and vision of WATAF and called for their continued support to facilitate and ensure successful implementation of WATAF programs.
CG Tamba, emphasized three core goals she will aim to net during her tenure which covers 2016/2017, among others enhancing awareness of the significance of tax administration in the region by having tax administration more prominently featured on ECOWAS agenda and support of the African Development Bank (ADB), as well as ensure the committees on Finance, Account and General Purpose, Exchange of Information and Research and Capacity Development are functional and effective, including implementation of planned activities under her tenure.
Meanwhile, outgoing WATAF Chairman, Sheikh Ahmed Ba, has thanked all Members Countries for the support accorded him during his tenure as head of the regional body.
He named the encouragement of dialogues amongst member countries, harmonization of taxes in the West African Region and sharing of best practices amongst Tax Administrations in the region as major accomplishment over the period of his Chairmanship.
He said it is now time for tax administrations to diversify focus from generating revenues mainly from natural resources to other sources including telecommunications. Mr. Ba concluded by admonishing incoming WATAF Council Chair to work firmly to increase domestic resources in the region.
The Permanent Secretary to the Senegalese Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Sheikh TidjaniDiop, who proxied for hisa boss, highlighted tourism as a new phenomenon of domestic resources in Senegal.
Mr. Diop also highlighted the need for countries in the region to follow the Senegalese government patriotic leadership in administering fiscal affairs, noting that prudent fiscal expenditure in infrastructure and good fiscal reporting has been at the foundation of their administration and that has seen Senegal maintain its position in the region.
He called on Tax Authorities to establish reasonable relationship with the Expenditure entity of Government to properly answer to taxpayers’ queries of “where does the money go” or else, collecting revenue will continue to be difficult in the region.
The Senegalese diplomat congratulated MrsTamba and admonished her to keep the region united in efforts to strengthen resource mobilization and pledge his Government continuous support to the wholesome functioning of WATAF and ECOWAS. Press release