ZAMBIA Revenue Authority (ZRA) Commissioner General Dingani Banda has said the digital age has significantly transformed the way revenue authorities operates, resulting reskilling of employees in order to meet the rising demand for better services from taxpayers and other stakeholders.
Speaking at the 7th General Assembly of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) yesterday in Lagos, Nigeria, Mr. Banda said new technological advancements in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning will potentially have a more significant overall impact and alter tax administration.
He said as a result, tax Administrations are now formulating strategies and aligning them to the transforming technological environment in which taxpayers operate, in most cases driven by other players in the ecosystem.
Mr. Banda said the common approach has been to build digital tax systems that evolve with the taxpayer; focusing on technologies that taxpayers have already adopted from other spheres in the environment.
Therefore, under its Corporate Strategic Plan (CSP 2022-2022), the Zambia Revenue Authority has focused on building technologies that have a common positive effect to the taxpayer and the Authority.
The 7th ATAF General Assembly is being held under the overall theme of “Rethinking Revenue Strategies: The Human Face of Taxation.”
Mr. Banda highlighted the transformation journey that the Zambia Revenue Authority has taken over the last ten years which include Adoption of electronic business processes by taxpayers and the Authority. Additionally, ZRA has transitioned from the manual forms that required data to be captured by officers.
With automation of business processes, taxpayers in Zambia are now able to do self-registration for Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TPINs), tax type and online trade facilitation.
Mr. Banda was making the presentation during one of the Sessions anchored on “Tax and Technology-Human centred and Socially Responsible Automation.”
The objective of the session was to discuss how digitalization of tax administration could be done so that it is in a manner that is considerate of accessibility, privacy and security, and human resource implications.
While digitalization has been propped to improve tax compliance and tax administration efficiency, it should not be at the detriment of taxpayers or employees of revenue administrations. It requires a balancing act of enhancing efficiency in the tax system and safeguarding the interest of the stakeholders in the tax system.
“On the African continent, the last decade has seen many ATAF member countries including Zambia heighten implementation of ICT-based initiatives to optimize revenue mobilization, the development which has resulted in enhanced efficiencies and data-driven decision-making. This is the smart way to administer taxes in this highly digitalised world. Through this, many have started reaping an ICT dividend,” Mr. Banda said.
He disclosed that technology has resulted into the diminishing role of data entry officers, re-skilling of staff into other roles, limited handling of cash, training in data analytics, demand in new fields such as data scientists, faster processes, reduced need for physical presence at borders and reduced levels of corruption among others.
The General Assembly which started on Monday is expected to run up to Friday this week.