The Pacific region must work together to tackle taxation issues and taxation leakages.
The call was made by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi when he opened the Pacific Islands Tax Administrators Association (P.I.T.A.A) 14th Annual meeting yesterday.
Held at Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows, it is guided by the theme Institutional Strengthening of Tax Administrations.
As host nation, Prime Minister Tuilaepa is delighted.
“This shows the strong commitment of the Samoan government to support regional efforts and initiatives to share ideas, knowledge and skills which of course includes taxation.
“Taxation is our major revenue source, the government very much relies on for public expenditures. We must therefore ensure that we protect our revenue base and prevent revenue leakages from stagnant and old fashion tax administrations,” he said.
“To address revenue leakage issues, we have to work together collaboratively and cooperatively as a region, to share information, knowledge skills and techniques as we all have limited resources plus different levels of capacities and capabilities.
“Working together is a must and this would also provide us with comparative advantages as a regional body when we deliberate with our international partners on taxation issues.”
The three-day Forum will also include an award ceremony.
During his speech, Tuilaepa said, some 33 years ago while he was the Minister of Revenue and was given the opportunity to speak at similar function.
“The reverend that was requested to kick off our meeting gave us beautiful and very concise sermon.
“He said that the best ever business man to have been born into this world was Lord Jesus Christ, he started his business with only 12 people and now he has millions spread throughout the world.
“The Lord Jesus was also the only honest businessman in the world because he paid his taxes.”
Sixteen countries are members of P.I.T.A.A. Also in attendance are representatives of the International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, and Inspur Group to name a few.