The Ghana Revenue Authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance has begun a three-day international conference and capacity building workshop on Transfer Pricing Abuse to help fight the menace.
The Conference on the theme: “Countering Treaty and Transfer Pricing Abuse: The Tax and Financial Crime Dimension,” is aimed at contributing to raising awareness on the importance of the role of tax administration in countering all forms of illicit activities.
Speaking at the opening session, Mr Kofi Nti, the Commissioner-General of GRA, said finding solutions to the issue of illicit financial flows called for collaboration between governmental and public institutions, particularly the judiciary, tax administrations, anti-corruption bodies, civil society organisations and businesses.
He said a multi-sectoral approach was therefore required to enable African countries to find solutions to the problem.
Mr Nti said to deal effectively with some of the sources of Illicit Financial Flows (IFF), the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has begun implementing measures to combat the practice through legislation, the capacity building of staff to enable them to detect and deal with the abuse of treaties and partnering the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), anti-corruption agencies and international and regional organisations to trace the sources of revenues and incomes.
Mr Nti said although Ghana might be experiencing some losses through IFFs, it was difficult to say exactly how much because of lack of data.
“Now that we have a unit established to look into IFFs, the GRA is determined to use all avenues possible to deal with the problem,” he said.
According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the continent is estimated to be losing more than $50 billion annually through IFFs.
He said the work done at the transfer pricing unit so far had brought to the fore many issues and that measures were being put in place to deal with them.
Mr Jeffrey Owens, an international tax expert, said African governments must exercise the political will to combat IFFs.
He said without the support and determination of governments, it would be extremely difficult to combat IFFs and other illegal activities on the continent.
Mr Owens, who is also a Co-Director of the Tax and Good Governance Project at the Institute for African and International Tax Law, urged participants to take advantage of the conference to build their knowledge on IFFs.
The conference among other objectives would provide an opportunity for the discussion of the recommendations of the Thabo Mbeki-led High Level Panel on IFFs and review the stage of their implementation by African countries.
It will also provide a platform for the exchange of experiences and ideas on how bilateral, multilateral and regional tax treaty instruments and specific provisions within these instruments can be used to counter abusive tax practices.
It has also been designed to build the capacity of participants on countering treaty and transfer pricing abuse.
About 60 participants from international organisations and 16 African countries are participating in the conference.