Revenue Reform and Statebuilding in Anglophone Africa
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Contrary to common assumptions, governments of African anglophone countries have long been relatively successful in collecting tax – taking into account the revenue potential of their economies. Major tax reforms have been undertaken over the past two decades. They have been prompted by the need for new revenue sources to compensate for steep reductions in tariffs, and promoted by international donors. Reforms have included: i) The widespread introduction of VAT; ii) The adoption of advanced tax administration reforms based on low cost ICTs, including the establishment of large taxpayer units, greater use of self-assessment coupled with better verifi cation, and measures to make tax paying easier and less contentious for taxpayers; iii) The creation of semi-autonomous revenue authorities (SARAs), with the intention of freeing them from bureaucratic straitjackets and political interference. In practice, however, while SARAs have routine operational and managerial autonomy, politicians can still intervene in detail.