CG Yankuba Darbo made this statement yesterday at the 9th WAUTI International Tax Conference held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Senegambia. The event was officially opened by the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Hon. Seedy Keita on behalf of the Gambian leader President Adama Barrow.
In delivering his keynote address to delegates at the august conference, CG Darboe said: “A well-designed tax system can promote economic prosperity and improve the well-being of the citizenry and put countries on a path to economic prosperity.”
The conference brought together topnotch delegates from member countries in West Africa and beyond to discuss the all-important theme of ‘rethinking taxation for human development and economic prosperity’.
The GRA leading light further told the conference delegates and participants:
“As we all know, taxation is a crucial component of any functioning society. It provides the necessary funds for government to invest in public goods and services, such as education, health care, infrastructure amongst numerous others.
“However, while taxation serves a necessary function, it is also true that the way in which we tax can have significant impacts on our societies. For example, a tax system that is overly burdensome or unfair can hold back growth and affect human development. On the other hand, a well-designed tax system can promote economic prosperity and improve the well-being of the citizenry and put countries on a path to economic prosperity.”
“It is for this reason that I wish to commend WAUTI for choosing a theme for this conference that is not just apt, in light of prevailing circumstances, but also very thought-provoking.”
CG Darbo said that The Gambia, for example, has seen a significant increase in budgetary allocations to critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture, healthcare, education, and infrastructural development.
“A major infrastructure project that comes to mind is the Banjul Rehabilitation Project, which was fully funded with tax revenue.” He said, adding that governments across Africa are becoming more responsive to the needs of their citizens who are craving for economic prosperity.
He also said that by 2050, the African youth population will constitute about 20% of the global youth population. “Today, more than 60% of Africa’s population is under the age of 25, with 70% of sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30. This could be a blessing or a curse. It could be a blessing if the African continent is able to stimulate the economy to give this youthful population the right economic environment to thrive and prosper, and like China, uplift a significant number of them out of poverty,” he explained.
In his welcoming remarks, Lamin Jatta, the chairman of WAUTI, said that in modern states, taxation is necessary to fund public goods and services.
“It is in fact a civic duty of the citizen but with the caveat that the taxes so collected will be used for economic prosperity,” he said, adding: “The duty of the state towards its citizens have moved from the mere protection of lives and properties to the provision of employment and social welfare benefits. It is therefore time to re-think not just the way we tax and what we tax but also how the tax is distributed.”
Speaking at the event, the WAUTI President Mr Salifou Dieye welcomed the delegate on behalf of the Governing council and member-bodies of the West African Union of tax institutes (WAUTI).
He said: “I thank you most profoundly for your attendance at this event which has become an annual affair providing a platform for tax professionals, officials in the revenue authorities officers involved in government policy formulation, academics, legislators and development partners to discuss contemporary and topical fiscal and tax issues of local and global significance.”
The international tax conference, organized by the West African Union of Tax Institutes, (WAUTI), is an opportunity to bring together taxation professional across West Africa to discuss contemporary issues in taxation across the continent. The West African Union of Tax Institutes (WAUTI) is an umbrella organisation established by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) and the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Ghana (CITG) with the objective of developing and promoting the taxation profession in West Africa.