By Omolabake Fasogbon
Tax professionals across West Africa under the aegis of the West African Union of Tax Institutes (WAUTI), recently came together to discuss the way forward for Africa’s economy given the challenges brought about by the COVID-19.
At the WAUTI 7th International Tax Conference held in Lagos, the tax experts weighed the impact of COVID-19 and accompanying trends on businesses and arrived at solutions to support recovery of economies in the region.
Speaking during the conference jointly held with the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), President of WAUTI, Olajumoke Simplice, maintained that for Africa to reach its set destination, it must be ready to look inward.
Simplice who was spoke on the theme of the conference: “Designing and implementing tax measures for the COVID-19 era and beyond,’ also stressed the need for Africa to reshape its mindset and develop its values beyond infrastructural development.
She said, “Africa is an emerging economy as well as the economy of the new century that we are moving into. Therefore, it is high time that we looked inward as a region. We should emerge to develop our strengths, most especially our resources and adjust to living without Aids.
“The post COVID-19 era packs a lot of benefits but how do we tap into these benefits? At this juncture, we need to utilise our youths positively; the youths are restless they want to learn a new thing, we also need to adjust to the new normal especially in the area of technology.”
She added: “In our subsequent discussion, we shall also be looking at how member countries can work with ACFTA to their advantage. For instance, in Nigeria, we shall be addressing our fears on ACFTA and how these fears can be allayed. At the end, we will send our communique to the government which we believe they will act on.”
The tax boss also identified the need for tax administrators to train their staff in line with the emerging area of taxation.
She said, “Taxation is an emerging field so it is important that workers should be trained to adjust to the everyday changes in taxation. For instance, tax administration is going internet, which by implication means one can sits in the comfort of one’s office and pay one’s tax.”
Earlier at a media briefing, the Chairman of WAUTI think thank of tax experts and PwC Partner, Taiwo Oyedele, reiterated the objectives of WAUTI.