Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi
Statement at Opening of the Pacific Islands
Tax Administrators Association Conference
On behalf of the Government and the people of Samoa I wish to welcome all delegates, our special guests and visiting friends who have come from the Pacific and beyond our region to participate in the 14th PITAA Heads Annual Conference
We are deeply honoured to host the 2017 Annual Meeting which shows the strong commitment of the Samoa government to support regional efforts and initiatives to share ideas, knowledge and skills which of course includes taxation.
Taxation is our major revenue source that governments very much rely on for funding public expenditures.
We must therefore ensure we protect our revenue base and prevent revenue leakages from stagnant and old fashioned tax administrators, tax planning schemes to avoid and evade paying the right tax, increased use of commerce, hidden application of transfer pricing and base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) methods by MNE (multinational enterprises) operating in our countries and numerous other challenges faced by our Tax Administrations.
To address revenue leakage issues, we have work together collaboratively and cooperatively as a region, to share information, knowledge skills and techniques as we have all limited resources plus different levels of capacities and capabilities.
Working together is a must and would also provide us with comparative advantage as a regional body when we deliberate with our international partners on taxation issues, political climate environmental health and educational matters, to name a few that directly impacts our regional survival.
I am therefore very glad to note that the theme of this year’s conference is Strengthening Tax Administrators and I would urge our members to discuss and deliberate more on regional strategies and methods to strengthen and modernize our mind set, laws, systems, procedures and structures of our tax administrations so that you are effective and efficient in collecting the revenues due to our governments.
At this stage, let me commend and congratulate our 16 members for formalizing the establishment of the PITAA Secretariat which is now tasked to facilitate and promote best international tax practices and standards with closer cooperation and coordination of information with its CEO and two staff is still in its early stage with teething challenges ad a new regional organizations but a big faamalo to the team for working hard throughout their first year to coordinate various capacity building and information sharing activities of our members
It would be a miss of me if I do not acknowledge with gratitude the long standing assistance and strong support of PITAA by the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre of the PFTAC
As the world around us keeps changing at a rapid pace, it is also very important that our tax administrations in the Pacific region adapt to the evolving changes to ensure that we are not left behind
To this end I once again relay my best regards and warm greetings to all participants of the PITAA 14th Annual Conference as well as the Observers and everyone involved in this meeting
I wish you all the best in your deliberations and may you enjoy each and every moment of your time here in Samoa
Without further ado, I now declare the Pacific Islands Tax Administrators Association 14th Annual Conference Officially Opened.