The Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Conference (BRITACOF)has endedin Wuzhen, China. Representatives from various tax administrations and finance departments from eighty-six (86) jurisdictions along with three hundred and fifty (350) delegates, sixteen (16) international organizations and a number of academic institutions and businesses met in Wuzhen from the 18th – 20th April for the first Belt and Road initiative Tax Administration Conference (BRITACOF).
Representing the NRA at the Conference was the Chairperson of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) Tuma Adama Jabbi who later got elected Vice Chairperson of the (Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Mechanism) BRITACOM and the Deputy Commissioner General, Jeneba Kpaka Bangura who also featured as a keyfacilitator in some of the sessions of the plenary and whose presentations were for the most part on streamlining tax compliance and digitization of tax administration. Most of her presentations focused on some of the current reforms within the NRA and its overarching effects on Revenue Mobilization in the Country.
The “BRITACOM” which is a nonprofit official mechanism for tax administrations corporation promises to build the most broadly represented tax collaboration mechanisms for member countries, committing to tax administration cooperation service, tax dispute resolution and tax administration capacity building with the aim of promoting and sharing of experiences as well as best practices which gear towards building a community of shared future. Some of the highlights of these year’s BRITACOF focused on tax cooperation which plays an important role in materializing the Belt and Road Initiative economic development. The conference also focusses on supporting and reinforcing prevailing international standards such as the OECD and the UN model tax conventions on income and capital, the OECD transfer guidelines, the UN transfer pricing manual etc. These years’ inaugural BRITACOF Conference witnessed, (22) twenty-two tax administrations and international organizations signing up as observers, (19) tax administrations signing up as BRITACEG members and (14) tax administrations, international organizations and academic institutions also signing up as partners for the (Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Capacity Enhancement Group (BRITACEG).
The NRA’s participation in the BRITACOM comes in the wake of a record increase in Revenue collection in Sierra Leone. After thrashing all targets set for it by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the first quarter of 2019, the NRA, under the leadership of one of Sierra Leone’s finest tax expert, Dr Samuel S. Jibao seemed determine to raise the much-needed funds for the Government of Sierra Leone to fund government’s development project. As a member of the BRITACOM, Sierra Leone will provide the platform to fast track cross-border trade and investment in the country by creating an environment which reflects the spirit of mutual assistance in realizing the President’s vision of increasing the Revenue to GDP ratio of 20% by 2023.
Sierra Leone has not only secured a membership place within the BRITACOM but has also been voted to provide leadership at the highest decision-makingbody within the organization. Tuma Adama Jabbi who is current Chairperson Board of Directors, of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) defeated other competent tax administrators in Countries like Afghanistan, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Senegal and a host of others to become Vice Chairperson of BRITACOM.
In her new role as Vice Chair of BRITACOM, Ms. Jabbi will among other things provide assistance in the day to day running of the BRITACOM Secretariat based in Beijing, China, support policy formulation and supervise the training arm of the organization (Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Capacity Enhancement Group (BRITACEG) which is dedicated to conducting tax–related training, research and technical assistance programs to member countries. As a result of this great milestone, the NRA stands to benefit from various trainings of its staff in the organization’s institute in China and other places.
The initiative came in the wake of turbulent times and tide of globalization, where developing countries like Sierra Leone can’t afford to be marginalized in the trend of growth and development, in which tax plays an important role in promoting collaboration and building a growth-friendly tax environment for economic cooperation. The next BRITACOF will be held in Kazakhstan in 2020.