Osinbajo Urges Transparency in Tax Matters

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Nume Ekeghe
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has challenged African tax administrators to address issues relating to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and increase transparency in resource mobilisation.

Osinbajo gave the advice while declaring open the third international conference of Africa Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) in Abuja yesterday. The vice president added that the continent also needs to ensure transparency and information sharing among member states.

He explained that information sharing involves establishing automatic information exchange as the new global standard for cooperation in tax matters and ending legal secrecy of ownership of companies and trusts, especially those based in tax havens.

According to a statement, the Executive Secretary, ATAF, Mr. Logan Wort and Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, also at the Senate hearing on new tax bills, disclosed that Africa loses about $1 trillion to BEPS and Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) from Africa.

According to the vice president, to contain base erosion and profit shifting, which had done significant damage to domestic resource mobilisation in the continent, a range of potential actions were being planned by member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“The Forum had committed to this cause since August 2008. After the International Conference in 2008 on a somewhat similar theme: Taxation, State building and Capacity development in Africa, senior tax administrators and policy makers from 39 African countries agreed to work towards the establishment of the Forum as a platform for sharing best practices in taxation matters in the region.

“It is remarkable, indeed, that the Forum has, through the years, been unwavering on its founding mission and ideals. But it is worth noting also that the tax problems of African states have remained much the same in complexity and character since,” the vice president said.

‎He also noted that the challenge in most developing countries remains the problems of domestic resource mobilisation.
On her part, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said there was a strong link between an efficient tax system and economic development, even as she underscored the need for strong, robust and effective tax regimes across Africa.