A tax policy adviser to the Finance Ministry, Dr Edward Larbi-Siaw, has urged West African states to build resilient economies to enable them to maximise their revenue collection in other to meet the aspirations and needs of their citizens.
“I am inclined to believe that if West African countries are to maximise their revenue collection to enable them to meet the legitimate aspirations and demands of the citizenry, then it is important to secure the tax base through a number of measures.
“One necessary measure is for governments to build resilient economies which can adapt to the vagaries of international economy,” said Dr Larbi-Siaw.
In a statement read on behalf of the Finance Minister Seth Terkper, Mr Larbi-Siaw said a transparent tax system will help in revenue maximisation.
In addition, he called for tax harmonisation to eliminate trade barriers in the wake of the adoption of the Common External Tariff by ECOWAS.
“A transparent and open tax system backed by tax laws clearly defining taxpayers’ rights and obligations will help secure the tax base and maximise tax revenue.
“As taxes might be barriers to the free movement of goods, services or production factors, their adjustment to integration should be examined.
“Tax harmonisation is a tool which can help remove some of these barriers,” he said.
Dr Larbi-Siaw concluded his speech by calling on tax expert in the sub-region ‘not to re-invent the wheel.’
“It is appropriate to learn from the rich history and experiences of the European Union and other integration processes in South America and other parts of the world,” he said.