Curtain falls on the 35th Annual CATA Technical Conference


After a very engaging week, the curtain finally came down on the 35th edition of the Annual Technical Conference on Friday the 14th November, 2014 with the colourful customary farewell dinner known as “CATA Night”. The five-day Conference that began on Monday 10th November was officially flagged off by Dr Taufila Nyamadzabo, the Secretary, Economic and Financial Policy in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of the Republic of Botswana. Dr Nyamadzabo, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS), thanked the Conference organizers for choosing a very fitting theme for the Conference. Similar sentiments had been expressed previously by the Commissioner General of BURS Mr Ken Morris. Mr Morris lauded the management of CATA for giving Botswana the opportunity to host this high level technical event. The top management of CATA led by the Chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Marfar and CATA's President Mr George Blankson attended the event.

With over 120 participants in attendance, delegates discussed various sub-topics arising from the Conference theme “casting the tax net farther: seizing opportunities in the extractive sector through appropriate fiscal regime and effective exchange of information”. Speakers drawn from various tax administrations shared their country experiences on the two sub-topics- Tax issues around Extractive sector and Exchange of tax information among jurisdictions. Industry and subject matter experts were drawn from international organizations such as the International Finance Corporation, Adam Smith International, the OECD and GiZ to lead discussions on some of the sub-topics. For the first time, a presentation was made by a member of the business community and was well received by the participants. The International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation and African Tax Administration Forum  were also represented.

On the third day of the Conference, delegates were treated to an exciting excursion to the National Museum of Botswana, including a trip to Bahurutse Cultural Village a few miles outside the city of Gaborone. Even the unexpected rains that came down on that day did little to dampen the spirit of the delegates, who were treated to a variety of Botswana’s traditional dances.

A meeting of the Heads of Delegations held in the margin of the Conference was attended by 23 countries. The meeting discussed various issues relating to CATA arising from the last meeting held in Kigali in 2013. The Heads of Delegation renewed their commitments to the objectives of CATA and pledged continued cooperation. As part of this cooperation, the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia and the Seychelles Revenue Commission seized the opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation on tax matters.

The President of CATA Mr George Blankson presided over the closing ceremony.

Gerry Cook