ATAF Executive Secretary Mr Logan Wort and ATAF Chairman and Commissioner General for Togolais Des Recettes (OTR) Mr Philippe Tchodie, follow proceedings during the ATAF General Assembly in Lagos, Nigeria

A clarion call was made for tax administrations to be state builders and also revenue collectors through improved service delivery, elimination of corruption, transparency and accountability in order to create and retain trust from both the government and taxpayers. 

This was made at the ongoing 7th African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) General Assembly which is being held in collaboration with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) in Lagos.

Deliberations at the conference centred around the social contract that exists between governments and taxpayers, where governments are expected to improve the lives of its people through provision of social services such as health care, infrastructure and education which influences taxpayer compliance.

In his opening remarks, ATAF Executive Secretary, Mr Logan Wort, said that the pressure of revenue to provide development in African states is increasing due to global shocks.

“The 7th ATAF General Assembly is taking place under the effects on Covid 19, rising inflation, rising interest rates and the impact of Ukraine-Russian war, global warming and climate change which have all negatively impacted on the lives of people. The challenge of revenue administration is immense as the pressure on revenue to provide resources necessary for redistribution falls on revenue collectors’ shoulders. The ability for governments to provide social services will be jeopardised if we don’t address these challenges”, he said.

Mr Wort said that ATAF focusses on improving domestic revenue mobilisation to build resilience against these global shocks and deliberations at the General Assembly will bring both the challenges and possible solutions to the fore to help design relevant solutions and policies for African governments.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner General Regina Chinamasa moderated the session on Tax as a Social Contract and Civic Duty – Managing Taxpayers’ Perception. She explored the interplay that exists between African Governments’ provision of public service and tax payment morale.

 The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner General Regina Chinamasa

“The social contract impacts tax morale and promotes apathy including the numerous factors such as lack of accountability that contribute to the breach in the social contract… The state is tasked with providing public goods, and in return, citizens willingly cede liberty and taxes to the state. In theory, the bilateral nature of this contract is self-reinforcing. On the one hand, the state cannot provide public goods such as security, education, and health services without sufficient tax revenue”, she said.

The 7th ATAF General Assembly, running from 31 October 2022 to 4 November 2022, is being held under the theme Rethinking Revenue Strategies: The Human Face of Taxation.  The event is being attended by heads and senior officials of African Tax Administrations and Ministries of Finance, representatives of international and continental organisations and development partners, as well as those from the private sector and academic institutions working in the tax arena from the 41 ATAF member countries.

ZIMRA has been a member of ATAF since the establishment of the body in 2009, and has benefited from a variety of ATAF’s capacity building and technical assistance programmes ranging from Transfer Pricing, Revenue Forecasting, Auditing of extractive, agro-processing and financial sectors.