Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) is hosting this year’s African Tax Administration Forum (Ataf) meeting on domestic taxes at Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre.
The meeting, being held from today March 1 to 2 under the theme Prioritising Domestic Taxes in Africa, has attracted 15 Ataf countries to discuss and find solutions to challenges facing value added tax (VAT) administration in Africa.
Speaking during the official opening of the meeting on Wednesday, MRA commissioner general Tom Gray Malata said the continued austerity measures being implemented in developed economies overseas are resulting in massive cuts in donor support to developing countries; hence, governments entrust more responsibility to tax administrators to mobilise domestic resources.
He said VAT fraud remains a challenge as some individuals and companies claim VAT refunds by submitting fraudulent invoices to revenue authorities.
Ataf executive secretary Logan Wort said most African countries face problems in implementing a tax administrative system.
He said: “Many systems are manual and a number of businesses do not issue receipts. So, governments and revenue authorities are unable to trace transactions to know what VAT is available and due,” he said.
Wort said the introduction of electronic fiscal devices in Malawi and Africa in general, has gone a long way in increasing the abilities of African countries to collect VAT that is due.
VAT accounts for 36 percent of all revenue collected by MRA and over 40 percent for total revenue in Africa.
Ataf was established in 2008 to create a platform to promote and facilitate mutual cooperation among African tax administrations and other stakeholders to improve efficiency in tax legislation and administration.