FIFTEEN African Countries are expected to hold a two-day annual conference in Arusha from November 28 to discuss how best to solve technical and administrative problems with Value Added Tax (VAT).
They are meeting under the auspices of Value Added Tax Administrators in Africa (VADA) Forum which will allow revenue administrators in Africa to exchange experiences and learn from each other how best to implement relatively new broad-based VAT administration.
According to the programme released by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) which will play host at Mount Meru Hotel, the theme for this year's conference is 'Improving revenue mobilization for accelerated national development -- the role of VAT in the 21st Century'.
The 15 countries include Tanzania, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Highlights of the conference's tight programme include presentation and discussion of the VADA annual report and presentation and discussion of the forum's financial report.
"The conference will reach resolutions that will mainly carry solutions to policy and technical challenges encountered anywhere among member states," said Mr Abeid Hubert Kazaizi, the Secretary of the organizing committee. He said the idea to form the forum was hatched in Kenya in 1998 during the conference of VAT Commissioners from East and Central Africa.
"The vision of VADA is to create a viable, international organisation to serve as a rallying point for solving African tax problems in the context of revenue mobilization for development of economies of African countries.
"The objective of the Forum is to bring together Commissioners and Administrators of VAT on the African continent and the togetherness would then create, as it has already done, a platform of generating ideas through brainstorming sessions on operations of VAT systems," he said.
During the sessions, members will create awareness and discuss VAT operations and come out with solutions to the problems from their respective countries. VADA is financed by its members through a fee of 1,000 US dollars upon joining and a similar fee annually.
The benefits of joining the association include technical support in VAT administration, exchange of current information concerning VAT implementation and sharing experiences and challenges related to VAT through technical presentations.