Gambia Revenue Avenue (GRA) Commissioner General and also current President of the West African Tax Administration Forum (WATAF), Yankuba Darboe, addressed ECOWAS member states last week during of WATAF’s 17th Annual General Assembly and its 10th anniversary in Abuja. , Nigeria.
Commissioner General Darboe was accompanied by directors from various departments and other members of the GRA board of directors.
This year’s theme is âExploring Untapped Sources of Income in Aricaâ.
In his opening speech, WATAF President Darboe said the forum provides a platform to encourage strong collaboration among all ECOWAS member states to improve the quality of revenue administration. in their respective states.
According to Mr. Darboe, since the advent of the Internet, the global economy is rapidly transforming from its traditional nature into a digital economy. âThe digital economy is increasingly becoming the economy itself. This new economy comes with challenges for tax decision-makers and it is therefore not surprising that this subject is now the most topical of the many contemporary issues of international taxation.
According to him, the untapped digital economy could be the solution to Africa’s budget deficit problem.
âTaxing the digital economy could be an important measure for governments to generate new fiscal space and increase tax revenues. However, taxing the digital economy is particularly difficult in countries with weak tax administration capacity. In the face of donor fatigue and the high debt profiles of many African countries, devising ways to tax the untapped digital economy could be the solution to solving Africa’s perennial budget deficit problem. Africa has the largest young population and rapidly growing internet penetration. These two factors present a great opportunity for African countries to maximize revenues to close the infrastructure gap upon which the digital economy relies. The digital economy is no longer a dream. It’s ours. It represents a great opportunity for Africa. To unlock this source of revenue, we must face the current challenges of taxing the digital economy to unleash its enormous potential by designing fair and equitable tax rules. “
“Policymakers around the world are finding viable solutions to tax the digital economy and in this regard, different policy options to address these challenges are being offered,” he said.
âThe digital economy today accounts for around 15% of global GDP with a net worth of US $ 11.5 trillion and is expected to grow as internet access in developing countries becomes cheaper, faster and More reliable. The COVID outbreak The -19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 has also had a positive impact on online retail sales due to lockdown and social distancing measures. “
âThe use of new digital technologies has not only transformed traditional business models that challenge the way economies are traditionally taxed, it has also created untapped revenue streams for Africa. Unfortunately, Africa’s participation in this new digital economy has left a lot to be desired in terms of untapped income. Africa’s low participation in this new digital economy is not due to a lack of foresight or laziness on our part but to the many challenges posed by the taxation of the digital economy.
Darboe said digitization has created a new borderless global economy, which in turn has highlighted how increasing global trade affects the ability of governments to tax economic activities to fund public projects.
According to him, the increase in international digital trade has defeated the established tax rules, which must be updated. “In the absence of an international digital tax system and a global tax authority, the digital debate requires mechanisms for multilateral cooperation and compromise from all parties concerned.”
“Therefore, it is incumbent on all of us to find solutions to meet the challenges that the digital economy brings with it. This forum has provided the right platform for dialogue between national tax authorities with a view to finding viable solutions to this untapped source of revenue by forging inclusive cooperation and dialogue among national tax authorities on international tax matters. This effort is particularly relevant amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as countries face a low budget deficit. precedent and that online commerce is growing around the world.
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