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ECOWAS training session on VAT begins in Accra

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A two-week training session for Tax Officers from Anglophone ECOWAS countries began in Accra on Monday.

The first training session on Value Added Tax (VAT) being jointly undertaken by ECOWAS Commission and VAT Secretariat in Ghana is being attended by participants from Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

It would focus on Ghana VAT Legislation and offer an opportunity to the participants for interactive discussion with Ghanaian VAT officials.

Mr George Vincent Blankson, Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) said it was to train trainers for the various countries.

He said the first training required Ghanaians to broaden their minds to exchange and share ideas towards development.

“There is no need for Ghanaians to seek for expert information anywhere, since the experts abound in West Africa; nobody can understand this environment more than us,” he said.

Mr Salifou Tiemtore, Programme Officer for Public Finance and Taxation of ECOWAS Commission, said to strengthen the customs union there was the need for countries to adopt Common External Tariff (CET).

He said CET should be accompanied by harmonisation of the indirect domestic tax legislation, to ensure consistency between external and domestic taxation.

Mr Tiemtore pointed out that the implementation and harmonisation of VAT, within the region would facilitate and make national systems compatible and consistent, to avoid discrimination to trade and competition among Member States.

He explained that harmonisation of internal indirect taxation would contribute to the development of trade among Member States and in addition,  promote transparency and coherence of the sub-region’s fiscal system as well as enhancing greater visibility of businessmen.

Mr Tiemtore said compatibility and coherence of tax legislations would enhance the confidence of economic operators who were the main actors for the economic integration among Member States.

He noted that one of the commitments made by ECOWAS Commission was the study tour to three different jurisdictions to learn the best practices in VAT implementation.

Mr Anthony Minlah, Commissioner, Domestic Tax in Ghana, said since the countries were determined to implement VAT, there was the need for technical know-how to move forward.

He urged the participants to take advantage of the opportunity to impart the knowledge acquired to their colleagues.

Source: GNA

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