KIGALI – Tax evasion, low level of compliance and negative tax perception continue to be a challenge for tax authorities and governments in Africa.
In an effort to address the issues, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) has for the second time convened journalists and tax communicators from across Africa to discuss the role of the media in addressing emerging tax matters affecting the continent’s development.
More than 60 participants are attending the three-day forum in Kigali, Rwanda.
Addressing the opening session on Wednesday, the Commissioner of Domestic Tax at the Rwanda Revenue Authority, Aimable Kayigi Habiyambere, said taxation in Africa faces numerous challenges which have a negative impact on meeting the African Union’s Agenda 2063 that underscores domestic resource mobilization for development.
According to Habiyambere, Africans avoid the payment of taxes due to its complexities, but still enjoy the benefits of tax such as safeguarding peace and infrastructural development, among many others.
He pointed out that the media has a critical role to play in helping tax authorities tackle the challenges of taxation in Africa.
“We have recognized that the media is an important tool to inform the public on matters regarding taxation, help increase voluntary compliance and reduce tax invasion,” Habiyambere pointed out.
For her part, the Director of Tax Programs at ATAF, Mary Baine stressed the need for the media in Africa to explain to the people the importance and benefits of tax.
According to Baine, the media can help revenue authorities spread the message of tax and convert public perception on taxes.
“It will be useful if we see or hear through different media outlets the importance and benefits of paying tax; the media has a big role in promoting tax compliance,” she stressed.
The Kigali gathering is the second media engagement and training under the auspices of ATAF. The first was held in South Africa in 2018.
ATAF was established in 2009 by African revenue authorities to improve the performance of tax administration in Africa.