As Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh writes, the informal discussion was heartwarming as members of the network were able to see each other after a long time

(Lund, Sweden: September 19, 2020): As part of keeping engaged and maintaining the conversation on telling the African tax story, few members of ATMeN responded to a virtual called meeting today, Saturday, September 19th 2020.

The informal discussion was heartwarming as members of the network were able to see each other after a long while and learnt about each other’s progress in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants of the circa forty-five minutes meeting shared stories about how COVID-19 is being fought in their respective countries and the rippling effects of the novel virus on their economies and the continent at large.

They cited falling revenue targets, declining GDPs and rising prices of basic commodities as some of the immediate effects of the pandemic.

Hosted by ATAF Media and Communication Manager, Romeo Nkoulou Ella, participants indicated that COVID-19 has introduced a new way of life and would stay so for a longer period, but cautioned one another to adhere to all preventive measures in the discharge of their duties.

As conversations veered towards how COVID-19 has given a bigger rise to transactions within the digital economy, with multinationals ripping hundreds of millions of dollars from Africa without paying taxes in return, Romeo indicated that from the ATAF end, the African tax body had concluded documentation on how African countries could tax the digital economy.

The document which countries will use as a guide to legislate laws on taxing the digital economy, he said, is expected to be launched around the end of September 2020.

He continued, “There is an enormous looming challenge on how African countries will raise revenues to fund development in the aftermath of COVID-19, and the AU is thinking about taking steps in that direction.”

Fiona, Romeo disclosed, is working on a training need assessment for a series of training for journalists/media practitioners, particularly ATMeN members, for next year.

Depending on the situation of COVID-19, at least one of the training would be physical.

ATMeN’s interim executive Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh suggested the creation of a Facebook page as well as a blog for the sharing of stories and press releases by ATMEN members.

This would be a source of information sharing and exchange of ideas.

The idea was bought for further discussion, while the meeting agreed it would be rewarding that ATAF has a link on its page that links journalists and tax communicators to ATMeN’s platforms.

ATMeN’s interim executive Christy Cole suggested the meeting be held every other week so that members could have something to look forward to.

She also recommended that Writing and presentation skills be included in Ataf’s training agenda for journalists to ensure good interpretation and presentation of data sourced across board.

The catch-up meeting will now be held every two weeks, with Romeo as host. He will provide details of the next meeting date and time.