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Tax Administrators must match with pace of global technological advancements — CATA President

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PHOTO 1: (L-R: Muhammad Nami, President, Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA), and Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); Jim Harra, His Majesty’s Revenue And Customs (HMRC) Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive; Mr. Jon Swerdlow, Capacity Building Unit Transparency Lead, HMRC, and Vice Chairman, CATA; Mr Duncan Onduru, Executive Director, CATA.)
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Tax administrators must keep up with the dynamics occasioned by disruptive new technologies of the 21st century, and arm themselves with the necessary skills, capacity and character for effective and efficient tax administration in the fourth industrial revolution age.

This was the position expressed by the President of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA), and Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr.

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Muhammad Nami in his charge to the 2022 CATA Senior Leadership cohort, during the closing ceremony of the programme held at His Majesty’s Treasury Headquarters, London, United Kingdom, on Friday.

Mr. Nami, in his remarks, highlighted that due to technological advancements in actualising human needs, fulfilling social interactions and conducting commercial activities, the way and manner of tax administration is constantly changing. He thus called for tax administrators to keep up with the times by improving on their skills and competence in line with these changes.

“The global tax arena is continually changing,” he noted. “The growing reliance on technology for much of basic human needs, social interactions and business dealings means that the tax-turf remains in a state of constant flux.

“The taxman is only able to match the depth and pace of the changes if equipped with relevant, adequate and up-to-date skills.”

The CATA President praised the Commonwealth association for its investments and contributions through its Senior Leadership Programme, which he noted has helped bridge the capacity gaps of tax officials in member countries.

“I am glad to note that CATA has, over the years, continued to organise the Senior Leadership Programme in order to meet the capacity development needs of tax officials in commonwealth countries. It has become a tradition for CATA to provide participants at this programme with top-notch tuition using case studies in a fun-filled environment.

“The 2022 edition did not depart from this tradition. The classes, according to reports, were very interactive all through the various sessions whether at home, in India or in the UK.

“Without doubt, the capacity of participants to lead themselves, to lead others, and to lead their functional units have been greatly enhanced.”

Quoting the renowned African philosophy of Ubuntu, “I am, because we are,” Mr. Nami urged the twenty (20) participants drawn from senior tax officials in commonwealth countries to put the knowledge and skills they have acquired during the programme into good use for the benefit of their countries, while further calling on the cohort to maintain and sustain the network of colleagues they have met during the programme.

The CATA Senior Leadership Programme is a yearly senior-level Leadership Programme delivered by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on behalf of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators. It pools together senior leaders of tax authorities in Commonwealth countries to equip them with the requisite leadership skills to navigate their organisations in a dynamic and complex landscape. The programme recognises the importance of good leadership to result-driven tax administration in the 21st century.

The 2022 edition combined residencies in India and the UK, accompanied with virtual sessions, and work within the domestic tax authorities of participants.

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