The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), an umbrella body for all tax administrators in Africa, has called on African leaders to discontinue all tax policies that impose unfair burdens on women who are financially stressed, denying them the opportunity to break out of the cycle of poverty and to contribute more constructively to wider economic growth of their nations.
The Executive Secretary of the body, Logan Wort, made the call in his Message commemorating the International Women Day 2021.
The tax administrator noted that Covid-19 pandemic was wrecking social and economic havocs in the highly interconnected world and that the impact of and responses to the pandemic had brought to the fore the inequalities in the world – which are likely to be amplified in the forthcoming recovery period.
He observed that Africa had been severely impacted upon by the pandemic and that the continent’s recovery could be likely long and difficult, thereby necessitating the need for countries to tap into every available resource to help the continent not only recover but to embark on a sustainable developmental trajectory.
Wort, who noted that while the lingering pandemic presented the opportunity for one of Africa’s untapped resources –women- to rise to the challenge.
He explained: Africa’s women have demonstrated tenacious perseverance and survivability in challenging setting must be brought forth to lend their expertise and to lead efforts for the continent’s recovery. Their efforts and sacrifices give meaning to this year’s International Women’s Day theme of “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a covid-19 World”
As part of ATAF’s efforts aimed at building on the broader agenda of gender equality and in the spirit of the theme of International Women’s Day, the Executive Secretary disclosed that ATAF on the 23rd of March 2021 will launch the “ATAF Women in Tax Network” that will represent and connect the women of Africa working in taxation with the aim of furthering discussion on the effect of tax policy on gender equality and empowering women in tax.
According to him, the Network will be an association which will encourage the participation of African Women working in taxation in Government, Private sector, Civil Society and Academia. It will build a platform for women to network and share experiences and will introduce programmes such as mentorship, leadership, research, and workshops on key topics impacting on women on the continent.
The tax administrator further pointed out that the presence of African women holding high office in their respective countries, and on regional, continental, and global platforms; as well as in the private sector and in civil society bodies, including the recent appointment of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala the former Minister of Finance in Nigeria as the WTO Director General, bears testimony to their leadership skills and abilities.
He expatiated: “In African countries, prevalent tax policies impose unfair burdens on women who are financially stressed, denying them the opportunity to break out of the cycle of poverty and to contribute more constructively to wider national economic growth.
“The OECD indicates that gender equality and taxation are rarely addressed together, but that the relation to development cooperation should not be overlooked, and that policy makers should ensure that tax policy initiatives do not have a negative impact on the results needed for gender equality.
“The achievement of the 2030 Agenda is only a few years away and taxes play an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The “ATAF Women in Tax Network” is a program to unleash the potential of African women to make greater contributions to the continent’s development”, Wort stressed.