ATAF launches 2018 African Tax Outlook edition

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) has recently launched its 2018 edition of the African Tax Outlook (ATO) in Kigali, Rwanda.The flagship publication serves as reliable source of information on taxation and constitutes a solid African and global benchmark for tax policy formulation and tax administration reforms across the continent.

The 2018 ATO publication brings together valuable, practical and relevant descriptive and analytical work on tax issues for the period of 2010 - 2016 from 26 African countries.

According to the Gambian correspondent and senior staff of The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) Malamin Jatta, this is the first-ever attempt by African Tax authorities to compare, in a consistent fashion, the ways in which African tax authorities raise revenue.

He indicated that it assesses and compares 26 countries against indicators in 7 broad

Categories of total tax revenue, individual taxes, non-tax revenue, tax and customs administration structures and functions, service management, compliance management and human resource in tax administration.

According to Mr. Jatta, the indicators are crucial to African tax authorities as they implement reforms and policies to broaden the tax base, narrow tax gaps, simplify and improve fairness in tax systems, enhance overall voluntary compliance, and keep policy makers informed on tax matters.

He further stated that the 2018 edition of the ATO reveals among other information, variations in economic performance as measured by real gross domestic product between participating countries in which Rwanda recorded 8.6% as the highest growth rate for 2016, 1.4% average for sub-Saharan Africa in 2016. Of the 26 ATO countries, 10 recorded or experienced negative real growth in revenue.

He said Uganda, Seychelles and Lesotho all observed increase of 2.37, 2.26 and 2.4 percentage points in their tax to GDP ratio from 2015 while Botswana, Zimbabwe and Angola experienced declines of 3.44, 3.18 and 2.18 percentage points respectively in their Tax to GDP ratios. “The value added tax (VAT) remains the cash cow in most ATO countries, with the average VAT-to-total tax revenue ratio of 31% which is higher than the OECD average of 20%.”

According to him, the personal income tax (PIT)-to-GDP ratios for ATO countries are still very low compared to those of the OECD countries. “This could be attributed mainly to the low-income levels for these countries, as compared to the developed economies.

Author: Abdoulie Nyockeh & Isatou Senghore-Njie