By Tracey Khan – Drakes
The Caribbean Organization of tax administrators 23rd General Assembly & Technical Conference commenced today at the Pegasus hotel and according to Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh; the timing of the conference is impeccable given the global financial crisis.
He explained that the tax administrators will strategically discuss and put forward recommendations to manage the region’s taxes effectively and efficiently.
He noted that the more robust and vibrant economies of the region are confronted with challenges of unsustainable debt, inconsistent fiscal debt and slow economic growth.
“Today we see more of our countries….some of the stronger economies of the region returning to institutions like the IMF for structural adjustment program aimed at strengthening our macro economic situation.”
He said that significant strides have also been made that has seen an integrated tax system into a single authority, a single database that shares information for a more effective and efficient tax output of this service.
“The opportunity of this meeting provides us I believe with an important forum through which sharing of experience can be achieved….and then importantly cooperation and collaboration across jurisdictions,” Dr Singh said.
“You,a as the heads of tax administrations in our region have an extremely important responsibility to play it is the discharge of the functions of your office that will determine how well friendly the private sector sells the country in their operations.”
Meanwhile, CARICOM Representative, Desiree Field – Ridley said the 23rd tax conference convened at a time when there is a lack of “economic competitiveness and worrying macroeconomic imbalances.”
“Having recognized the significant need for structural change, CARICOM heads of Government have been focusing attention on fashioning an appropriate agenda for the community.”
Further, she explained that the tax administrators have a responsibility to advise Governments on the way forward in terms of its macro economic agenda.
Meanwhile, Charles Codo, speaking on behalf of President of the Caribbean Organization Tax Administration explained that they remain committed to moving the region’s tax regime forward and are also focusing on many other initiatives.
The last tax conference was held in Guyana some 39 years ago. The conference is being held under the theme: Efficient Tax Administration as a Catalyst to growth and development in the CARICOM.
The conference concludes on Friday, July 25.