A dispatch from Abuja, Nigéria, said the ECOWAS Commission through the Customs Union and Taxation Directorate held a virtual training workshop for tax auditors from fifteen (15) Tax Administrations of ECOWAS member states on risk-based auditing of the telecommunications sector using computer-assisted audit techniques (CAATS). The event was organized as part of the strategies for strengthening revenue mobilization in the sub-region under the ECOWAS Fiscal Transition Programme.

In his opening address, Mr. Tei Konzi, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, welcomed all the participants and reiterated the need for this training which is part of ECOWAS Fiscal Transition Programme (FTP) towards achieving the harmonization of tax laws and other trade facilitation instruments for enhancing economic growth of the region. He said the decline in aid flows to the region makes it imperative to look inwards and mobilize revenue through national taxes to compensate for the potential loss. Therefore, he stated that capacity building of tax administration staff is among the key measures towards ECOWAS Customs Union.

Also speaking during the event, Mrs Barbara Rippel, the Programme Manager, GIZ explained that this training workshop is part of the initiative to promote trade in West Africa supported by the German government. She stated that the training is the first in a series of sector-specific training focused on sectors important for the growth of the region. She observed that developing a sector goes hand in hand with good governance and transparent taxation which can only be achieved through capacity building and training of tax administration officials in each member state.

The training programme which is divided into two modules will run from the 17th May to 4th June 2021 for the beginner/intermediate level and 28th June to 16th July 2021 for advanced level. The training, which is hands-on approach includes CAATs, case studies, group work and practical sessions. The participants are expected to be able to conduct risk-based audits of the telecommunications sector as well as adopt and use CAATs to carry out such audits.

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