The East African Community revenue authorities have resolved to collaborate in the elimination of tax crimes in the region in order to foster regional self-reliance.
This was during the East African Commissioners Tax Investigations forum recently.
The deliberations centered on the theme, Leveraging technology and data for revenue mobilization.
The URA commissioner of Tax Investigations department Dennis Kugonza Kateba revealed to fellow commissioners that tax fraudsters are advancing in knowledge and technology hence the need for collective efforts by East African nations to tackle the crime.
“Tax fraudsters are becoming shrewder, they are doing everything possible including investing in modern technology and skills development so as to evade tax. We must work together and eliminate these cartels,” Kugonza continued.
The delegation from Kenya led by Dr. Edward Karanja Commissioner TID highlighted the need to put a human face in tax investigations to ensure self-compliance.
The team stated that Kenya Revenue Authority is currently working on empowering its officers to improve the image they hold in public thus facilitating change in the dynamics of taxation.
“We need to work closely with other government agencies to enable them appreciate that the revenue we are generating is to support national growth and development rather than working in seclusion,” said Dr. Tera Saidimu, KRA commissioner intelligence and strategic operations.
In his remarks the Burundi commissioner Mr. Niyonzima Jean Berchmans highlighted misdeclaration, transcribing, dumping of goods into East Africa, and taxation of the digital economy as matters to be investigated swiftly to close this revenue leakage.
The Rwandan representative Emma Rwigema appreciated information sharing between East African nations. He disclosed that his country has so far recovered 8 billion francs in revenue due to shared investigations. He also lauded URA for the training in intelligence-based revenue collection and requested for joint operations among the nations.
The Commissioner of Tax Investigations Tanzanian Revenue Authority, Mr. Everest Mashiba cited plea-bargaining as a way of easing tension and a faster way of recovering tax from fraudsters. He said that a big milestone has been walked and more is still coming.
Ms. Joyce Wani, Acting Commissioner of Internal Affairs in South asked the East African Revenue Authorities to make policies that will favor the youngest nation in the bloc.
“South Sudan is still young we still have a lot to learn though with much to offer. With such initiatives coming up we shall definitely become a better nation and Africa.”
The resolutions for this meeting shall be adopted for implementation by the East African Revenue Commissioners General forum which is scheduled for Thursday 16th February 2023. This event has attracted the largest delegation ever since the inception of the forum.