Reflections on 2014

This entry marks the end of an eventful year for CATA.  It is an apt time to reflect on and take stock of some of our achievements and challenges.

First I have to record with some sadness the departure of two members of the Management Committee who have taken on other assignments.   The Vice Chairman Peter Steeds (United Kingdom) will be leaving HMRC to join the private sector while a long serving member of the Committee Peter Estey (Canada) has been reassigned to other responsibilities within the Canada Revenue Agency.  The two have been instrumental in shaping the Association and their presence and contributions will be sorely missed.  On behalf of the Management Committee and the CATA membership at large, I wish to thank both for the selfless service rendered to the Association during their tenure and also wish them every success in their new assignments.

Talking of selflessness, one cannot fail to mention HMRC and IRBM through whose support CATA continues to run three critical training programs which have, over the years, benefited hundreds of tax officials.  The curriculums for these courses are constantly being reviewed to align them with contemporary issues affecting tax administrations.  Particular emphasis was made in the area of leadership and mentoring.  Paul Stafford who joined as the Course Director for AMP has instituted far reaching reforms in that program and, together with his counterpart Fiona Kirk, provided invaluable support to this year’s programs.

Our continued partnership and collaboration with other international organizations saw many of our mem- bers benefit from capacity building initiatives facilitated by these organizations.  The IMF funded and facili- tated a workshop on “Board governance for revenue authorities” while IBFD sponsored training on interna- tional taxation for tax officials from some CATA member countries. Many organizations such as DFiD, GiZ, and Trade Mark Africa rendered technical support to individual CATA member countries.  The Association remains appreciative of these interventions.

Botswana hosted the 35th Edition of the CATA Annual Technical Conference. In spite of the challenges posed by the Ebola virus outbreak in some parts of Africa, the Conference was a great success judging by the level of debate and the number and diversity of the delegates in attendance. To those members who did not make it for whatever reasons, we hope to see you in 2015 in Malaysia where the next Conference will be hosted.

As in many such Associations, membership involvement and support is vital for any success to be achieved.  The Association’s capacity to deliver services to the members depends on the resource purse. With some members defaulting on their financial commitments, the Association is increasingly finding it difficult to deliver on its mandate.   More sacrifice will therefore be necessary if we are to actualise the key milestones in our Strategic Plan.

We have had a wonderful Management team under the Chairmanship of  Dr Mohd Mahfar who have provided immeasurable support to the Secretariat.  Together with the personal intervention and guidance of the President of CATA, Mr George Blankson, it has been a year well spent.  Therefore, I would like to wish all the members a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2015.

Duncan Onduru
Executive Director

Gerry Cook