APPOINTMENT

KRA boss to chair Africa unit of global tax information sharing

Initiative aims at unpacking the benefits of tax transparency and exchange of information.

In Summary

•This is in the war against tax evasion and other illicit financial flows.

•Mburu has been appointed to provide leadership for a one year term.

KRA Commissioner General James Githii Mburu.
KRA Commissioner General James Githii Mburu.
Image: COURTESY

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner-General Githii Mburu has been appointed the first Chairperson of the OECD Global Forum on transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, Africa Initiative.

Africa Initiative is a continental programme launched in 2014 by the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Global Forum), its African members and various partners.

It aims at unpacking the benefits of tax transparency and exchange of information (EOI) to fight tax evasion and other illicit financial flows (IFFs) and serve African countries’ development.

Following a reorganisation of the Africa Initiative governance structure, Mburu has been appointed to provide leadership for a one year term.

His appointment was preceded by the member countries ratification of a proposal to extend the Africa Initiative operating term and mandate for a further three year period beyond December 2020.

Initially launched for a three-year period (2015-2017), the Initiative was renewed in Yaoundé, Cameroon in 2017 for another three years (2018-2020).

It has become the flagship programme of the Global Forum which has inspired other continental programmes across the world.

Through Africa Initiative, the number of African countries involved in international work on tax transparency has grown.

In 2009, only four African countries were members of the Global Forum. Now, Africa is well represented with 32 African countries serving as members of the Global Forum.

All these advances contribute to the establishment of a culture of Exchange of Information that has helped generate additional tax revenues.

African jurisdictions now boast of an eightfold increase in the number of requests for information sent, which in turn, have yielded $189 million (Sh 21.1 billion) of additional revenue between 2014 and 2019.

On the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) landscape, globally, around EUR 102 billion has been recovered through voluntary disclosure programmes prior to the first automatic exchange of information, including EUR 27 billion for developing countries.

In Africa, Nigeria reported $82 million (Sh9.1 billion) and South Africa $296 million (Sh33 billion).

Speaking when he addressed the Global Forum Virtual Plenary session on Friday evening, Mburu expressed his commitment to champion the adoption of robust tax evasion programmes across Africa.

“While the global community has moved to combat tax evasion and other forms of illicit financial flows, the African continent has lagged. For this reason, I commit to actively champion efforts to unlock the potential of tax transparency and Exchange of Information for African countries,” Mburu said.

He said the Africa Initiative comprising of 32 African countries, 11 regional and international partners, will strive to ensure that the member states are equipped to optimise the improvements in global tax transparency.

The Africa Initiative will also foster programmes to tackle tax evasion and other forms of Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs); while mobilising domestic resources to facilitate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as well as the African Union Commission’s Agenda 2063.