journalists who participated in the recently concluded second African Tax
Administration Forum (ATAF) media engagement and training in Rwandan capital,
Kigali have created an African Tax Media Network (ATMeN), comprising 150 tax
reporters and tax communicators in Africa.
The network was created to champion the African tax conversation with the aim of enhancing domestic resource mobilization and development on the continent.
ATAF was established by African revenue authorities in 2009 to improve the performance of tax administrations on the continent. About 70 participants from 22 counties including The Gambia had attended the training.
Participants unanimously endorsed Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) communications, media and public affairs manager, Dr. Kaihenneh Sengbeh chairman of the 11-member committee who will finalise the formation of the network for endorsement by heads of revenue authorities in Africa during the 10th Anniversary celebration of ATAF later this November.
The Network seeks to establish a strong collaboration between tax reporters and revenue administrations to enhance tax education and awareness in supporting domestic resource mobilisation among others.
The formation of the network buttresses efforts led by ATAF to initiate concrete steps in developing a smooth relationship between the media and various tax administrations on the African continent.
Through this network, participants commit themselves to share experiences, develop story ideas, promote access to information at multiple levels and to identify opportunities for capacity development.
Participants reiterated the importance of the network, saying it would help them contextualise the story of tax by providing concrete policies, communicating service delivery and highlighting actions.
According to them, this would be the right platform for the media to create, access, curate and share knowledge that will subsequently enable citizens to understand the impact of their taxes on development.
The three-days engagement heighted the critical role of the media in unpacking the benefits of tax on citizens, advocacy, taxing the digital economy, the role of citizens in development, including simplification of tax information to the public.
ATAF Director of tax programme Mary Baine urged media practitioners to remain committed in highlighting tax matters as a mean of ensuring that the public is adequately informed and educated on issues of taxation.
Aimable Kayigi Habiyambere, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) commissioner of domestic tax said the role of the media is fundamental in taxation and as such, it should not be left behind in the process of tax information and education.