Mauritius is hosting the 13th African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) Country Correspondent Conference, an important platform for country respondents to discuss issues concerning tax administration in African countries, from 11 May to 12 May 2023 at the Custom House in Mer Rouge.
The conference opened, this morning, in presence of the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, the Director-General of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), Mr Sudhamo Lal, and the Deputy Executive Secretary of the ATAF, Mrs Mary Baine.
In his keynote address, Minister Padayachy underlined that the main objective of the conference is to further strengthen the efficiency of tax administration in Africa in view to support socio-economic development. It will also contribute to strengthening the existing relations between ATAF members as well as promote sharing experiences and knowledge on common challenges.
He reiterated the country’s longstanding engagement to the ATAF for the concretisation of efficient and effective tax systems. There is a need to invest in improving national tax systems and keep abreast of international developments, he stated while urging policy makers and tax administrators to work together to ensure domestic resource mobilisation in African countries.
The Ministry, he mentioned, is closely partnering with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to implement key resolutions including the global minimum tax. He observed that major challenges continue to persist despite the work accomplished in the field of illicit financial flows and base erosion and profit shifting, and hence, stressed on the need to reinforce cooperation among ATAF countries.
As for the ATAF, the Finance Minister pointed out that it is widening its engagement by providing more innovative solutions, technical assistance and capacity building of tax officials in country respondents. Mauritius, he added, has fully supported the ATAF and its African counterparts in their move towards international tax cooperation.
Dr Padayachy indicated that a lot of effort has been made by Mauritius to further engage with tax payers inviting them to be solid partners of tax administration. The MRA, he stated, has set a core synergy to implement innovative measures to ensure tax compliance through modern techniques. He remarked that the deployment of innovative techniques by the MRA has contributed to the positioning of Mauritius at the 5th rank in the Ease of Paying Taxes Index of the World Bank.
Mauritius, he stressed, is performing well and will further expand with an increasing growth rate as supported by local and international institutions. The IMF, he pointed out, revised Mauritius’s Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2022 from 6.1 % to 8.3%. According to Statistics Mauritius, GDP for 2022 stands at 8.7% and is expected to increase by a minimum of 5% in 2023.
Additionally, he observed that the unemployment rate in Mauritius is also on a decline from 8.1% in 2021 to 6.8% in 2022.
These figures, stated the Minister, validate the concrete economic resilience of Mauritius and tangible effectiveness of Government’s strategy to protect businesses and the population.
For his part, Director-General Lal stated that Mauritius is one of the five founding signatories to the ATAF Agreement. For three consecutive mandates, he mentioned, Mauritius occupied the positions of Member to Vice Chairman of the ATAF Council. The MRA, he stressed, has been an active partner in the capacity building initiatives of ATAF, and will continue to support the organisation for the attainment of its goals.
Mrs Baine, for her part, dwelt on the main priorities of the conference relating to tax reforms, taxation of digital economy, and international tax transparency. These priorities, she indicated, are guided by the African Union while highlighting the need to increase cooperation among ATAF country respondents for the Sustainable Development Agenda.