Tax practitioners discuss ‘Gender and Tax in Africa'
Thirty five tax specialists, practitioners and researchers from 14 countries have participated in a three-day workshop on ‘Gender and Tax in Africa'.
The workshop, organised by International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) in collaboration with the Ghana Revenue Authority was aimed at facilitating a discussion of the various issues surrounding women and tax in Africa, it was also to develop a research agenda on gender and taxation in Africa.
Speaking at the conference in Accra that drew lessons from the revenue collection agencies of participating countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal, Nigeria and Malawi, an official at the GRA, Dr. Alex Kombat, explained that the GRA is considering allowing women to take front line in tax administration and collection in the country to help deepen compliance and transparency whiles boosting confidence in revenue mobilization system.
Proposing a tax relief in favour of women in small businesses, Mr. Kombat explained that Ghana is yet to replicate this system being practiced by Kenya where, its implementation will ensure that female taxpayers in the Ghana may soon be enjoying some tax incentives in order to promote equity and improve their livelihoods. This comes on the back of a latest research commissioned by the ICTD in partnership with the GRA and the Ministry of Finance and other international tax related agencies. The need for taxes and domestic revenue mobilization has also become apparent as funding and donor support to developing countries, have reduced. As a result, researches have also revealed that various tax regimes across the world put women at a very disadvantaged position compared to their male counterparts. This is also aggravated by the disproportionate allocations by the various governments, to issues concerning women and children’s rights and socio-economic development. Mick Moore, CEO, ICTD explained that until recently many African countries tax collection exercise was mainly done by men as there is a lot of corruption practices in the tax collection.
A study conducted by ActionAid has revealed that many developing countries are spending less than 0.03 percent of their GDP on Ministries that are focused on women’s rights and empowerment. Despite the fact that women engage in majority of unpaid care work such as caring for children, fetching water and performing household chores, they are equally subjected to same tax obligations compared to their male counterparts. Capacity Building Manager at ICTD, Dr. Jalia Kangave explained that there is the need for governments to reconsider policies affecting women and taxation as their disproportionately represented in the lower economic status ladder. “Because at the end of the day, in most societies, women are the ones that hold the society together in terms of childcare and other related responsibilities and duties… but in most cases, women are disproportionately represented in the lower income levels, so we are looking at what ways we can use tax system to make things better for women,” Dr. Kangave remarked.