Government Officials from Central and Southern Africa Promote Good Practice in Preventing Tax Fraud
The AFRITACs Central and South organized on September 28-October 2 an interregional seminar, in collaboration with the Africa Training Institute. The event organized at the institute's headquarters in Mauritius brought together senior officials and experts in tax and customs from Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo.
Mr. Sudhamo Lal, Director General of the Mauritius Revenue Authority, welcomed the initiative and noted that “the choice of the operational model for concerted action between customs and tax agencies to fight fraud is immaterial. What is critical is to ensure that there is a coherent strategy involving agencies moving in the same direction towards a common goal with dedicated and competent staff.”
The international trade of the countries represented in the seminar generates a large part of the resources mobilized by the State, including the collection of VAT on both imports and domestic activities. The persistence therefore, even the increase, of VAT fraud points to the need for a joint approach of the tax and customs administrations in charge of VAT collection. Sharing intelligence, cooperation, and integrating certain responsibilities of these two agencies is crucial for combating VAT fraud and improving its performance.
As stated by Olivier Benon, Director/Coordinator of AFRITAC Central, the theme of the seminar meets one of the strategic objectives of the Centre which is "improving the administration of VAT and strengthening the management and fiscal control of the natural resources sectors”.
Participants reaffirmed the need to a better collaboration; with the view to understand the risks of fraud as well as an appropriate set of coordination of both preventive measures and sanctions. They also developed practical tools adapted to the situation of each country with regard to trade data, fraud risk management, and VAT control.