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Transfer pricing

The OECD and Global Forum support ECOWAS in strengthening the fight against BEPS and improving tax transparency in West Africa

 

26/07/2023 – As part of the European Union's Fiscal Transition Support Programme in West Africa (FTSP), the OECD and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Global Forum) have collaborated with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) commissions in the development of three community legal tax instruments intended to strengthen the fight against base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and improve tax transparency in West Africa:

  • a Directive on the harmonisation of transfer pricing rules which gives the means to the tax administrations of ECOWAS Member States to better control multinational enterprises present on their territory;
  • a Directive on beneficial ownership which allows the identification of the beneficial owners of legal persons and arrangements, and ensures the availability of adequate, accurate and up-to-date information on these beneficial owners; and
  • a Supplementary Act on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters which offers multiple forms of co-operation between the tax administrations of ECOWAS Member States and thus strengthens the exchange of information.

 

These three community instruments, which are aligned with the most recent international tax standards, were adopted by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and the Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS at their respective meetings on 6-7 July 2023 and 9 July 2023 in Bissau.

 

They allow ECOWAS to offer its Member States a harmonised tax framework in terms of transfer pricing and exchange of information that will strengthen the fight against tax avoidance practices and improve tax transparency within the sub-region. In turn, these measures will promote domestic resource mobilisation towards the achievement of development objectives.

 

Mr. Wolfram Vetter, Ambassador of the European Union in Burkina Faso, welcomed the adoption of these community legal instruments, developed under the EU-funded FTSP, which will strengthen the fight against BEPS in West Africa and improve tax co-operation between ECOWAS Member States.

 

Mr. Salifou Tiemtoré, Director of Customs Union and Taxation at the ECOWAS Commission, stressed that "these three community tax instruments reflect our determination to strengthen transparency and tax integrity in West Africa. Together, in collaboration with the OECD and the Global Forum, we have taken a crucial step in the fight against BEPS. This harmonised tax framework, in line with the latest international standards, demonstrates our commitment to responsible and fair tax governance in the sub-region".

 

Finally, Ms. Manal Corwin, Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, welcomed the fruitful tax co-operation between the OECD and ECOWAS, noting "I am delighted these measures will give West African tax administrations the means to better fight against tax avoidance practices while strengthening legal certainty and the business climate within the sub-region".

 

The FTSP, which is funded by the European Union, aims to support the implementation of fiscal transition programmes in West Africa following the application of regional trade liberalisation policies. Under this programme, the OECD and the Global Forum provide the ECOWAS Member States, Mauritania and the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions with technical assistance to enable them to more effectively fight against base erosion, profit shifting, and illicit financial flows.

 

For more information, please contact Ben Dickinson, Head of the Global Relations and Development Division of the OECD Center for Tax Policy and Administration (+33 1 45 24 15 29), Zayda Manatta, Head of the Global Forum Secretariat (+33 1 45 24 82 29) or [email protected].

 

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