Africa can improve tax collection to fight poverty

19 Oct 2016 21:00pm
RUNDU, 19 OCT (NAMPA) – There is a need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of tax systems in many African countries declared Minister of Economic Planning, Tom Alweendo.
Speaking at the Africa Redemption International Conference (ARIC) on poverty reduction in Africa on Wednesday, Alweendo said Namibia and Botswana are not like other African countries.
“Most African countries collect only a fraction of potentially available taxes, while some countries such as Namibia and Botswana have high tax revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratios of 29 per cent and 35 per cent respectively in 2015.”
Alweendo said there are countries such as Chad where the tax ratio to GDP is a mere 4 per cent, adding one of the most important domestic resource to finance development is taxes in various forms.
Taxes and other government revenues, he noted, fund the provision of essential public goods such as education and health services, infrastructure development, maintenance, law and order and an efficient public administration.
The four-day conference that started in Rundu on Tuesday brought together about 200 experts from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Germany, Nigeria and South Africa to deliberate on issues that deter the continent from emerging from poverty.
It provides academics and policy makers the opportunity to share information and chart a way forward as like-minded Africans.
To improve tax collection, Alweendo said African Governments should look into outsourcing revenue collection.
“One way of improving the revenue collection is through the establishment of a semi-autonomous revenue collection agency.”
He said such an institution is able to attract and retain high quality staff and is more efficient as it integrates all tax functions into one entity.
“A revenue authority model is also attractive because locating all tax administration functions into one autonomous entity facilitates much needed reforms to achieve higher efficiency in tax collection.”
The conference ends Friday and more experts are to make presentations on how Africa could fight poverty.