The President of West African Union of Tax Institutes (WAUTI), Dame Gladys Simplice, has said that for Africa to develop without aid, there was need to mobilise domestic revenue, reshape mindsets and values as well as take advantage of natural resources in the continent.
Speaking ahead of the 7th WAUTI conference holding in Lagos, with theme ‘Designing and Implementing Tax Measures for the COVID-19 Era and Beyond’, Simplice, said the international conference aimed to deepen understanding of the consequences on taxpayers and tax administrators, and to contribute to the recovery of the economy of the West African countries.
She added that the conference also aimed at exploring the mechanisms through which the African continent could leverage on its numerous economic resources to develop without aid.
The WAUTI President noted that Africa, being an emerging economy, had youths that have the capability to develop it without aid, if empowered.
According to her, there is need to develop and empower the youths in order to unleash their potentials toward the growth and development of Africa.
Simplice noted that Africa was endowed with enough human and natural resources to be developed without aids and stand on its own, stressing that it’s time Africa stop exporting its numerous raw materials and resolved to be processing them within the continent.
She maintained that the conference, which plans to shield affected people and firms with appropriate fiscal measures, would analyse the impact of the COVID-19 and explore ways out for the development of member countries and growth of the economies.
Simplice, who is also the President of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), said before now, WAUTI had harped on domestic revenue mobilisation and other issues that were vital to the development of the economy and professionals in the sub-region.
She said the union had moved to have full membership and harmonise taxation practice in West Africa, by encouraging member states to establish and fund their tax institutes to develop the profession across the region.
On what the institute intends to achieve with the conference, Simplice said: “We want to look at post-COVID-19 and what is going to happen to us. There are so many advantages from post-COVID-19; the Information Technology (IT), we have been able to employ IT to do a lot of things. Are we training and engaging our youths positively in IT? A lot of people have keyed in virtually. What we want to talk about is Africa without aid, we can do it, and we have the human and economic resources. Nigeria needs industrial hubs for co-development in Africa. Let us take advantage of it.”
She, therefore, called on all other African countries to intensify more effort toward establishing their state’s chapter tax Institutes and joining WAUTI, saying that two countries – Nigeria and Ghana, were the major active countries in the union now.
The Chairman, WAUTI high-level think tank of tax experts, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, said the conference would help countries and policy makers to address critical and economic matters.
The Pioneer President of WAUTI, Mr Rasaq Quadri identified funding as the major challenge the union had been facing, saying that some of the member states find it difficult to meet their financial obligations.