Rigobert Roger Andely, Minister of Finance, Budget and Public Portfolio, assisted by his colleague Ludovic Ngatsé, in charge of the Budget, opened on Monday 1 March 2022 in Brazzaville, the workshop for the improvement of the information system of the tax administration, notably the E-TAX Project (Integrated Tax Management System). The workshop was attended by Mrs. Korotoumou-Ouattara, Representative of the World Bank (WB) in Congo, the institution in charge of the Integrated Public Sector Reforms Project (PRISP).
Two speeches marked the opening of the workshop, notably that of the World Bank Representative. Mrs. Korotoumou Ouattara first recalled the limits of the E-TAX project before inviting the Congolese government to choose between this solution and a new one. "A few years ago, the Directorate of Information Systems (DSI) of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Public Portfolio decided to develop the internal solution, I am talking about E-TAX. The solution that was chosen turned out to be very expensive and technically very complex. There were also project management problems. This led to very considerable delays. And by the end of 2021, only three of the nine trades and half of the taxes had been set up. Moreover, the tradesmen had indicated that they were not satisfied with the solution’’. Then, the speaker said, with regard to the choice, that "today, we are faced with two possible choices: either to put all the necessary means to finalise E-Tax, including a change of approach, if necessary; or to resort to a firm to support the current teams, in order to outsource (to this firm, which will be held responsible) a satisfactory product in due time. We will support the Congolese government in its choice by re-analysing the state of play of E-tax, by seeing what projects have been carried out so far since the last evaluation, and by proposing the most appropriate solution.
For his part, the Minister of Finance, Budget and Public Portfolio said that " We are not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater, even if certain weaknesses have been observed, E-TAX still covers 25 of the 29 taxes of Volume 1 of the General Tax Code. The objective today through this workshop, and the meetings that will take place during the presence of the World Bank support mission, is to be able to organize open and factual conversations, in order to develop concrete, realistic recommendations and objectives.the objective today, through this workshop and the meetings that will take place during the presence of the World Bank accompanying mission, is to be able to organise open and factual conversations, in order to elaborate concrete, realistic and objective recommendations". He asked the participants in the workshop to commit themselves fully, "in order to share the necessary information, to discuss the difficulties, risks and needs, in order to arrive at a roadmap that is as precise and realistic as possible. The aim is to put in place an efficient, sustainable and secure system that will enable the Congo to control its tax base and improve tax collection.
It was also an appropriate occasion for Minister Andely to warn against all those who would oppose the reforms undertaken by the Congolese government, and who would still be tempted to embezzle public funds. "I will deal with them," he warned.
Some themes of the workshop
During the workshop, participants were given two presentations at the opening session: firstly, the business people's presentation on the roadmap of requirements for the information system; expectations of E-TAX; observations on E-TAX: progress and problems; and potential difficulties and risks.
Secondly, that of the Director of Information Systems (DSI) on the state of play of E-TAX at the end of February 2022: modules, functionalities, taxes covered and work schedule; on the demonstration of E-TAX and, finally, on problems encountered and the risks.
The Press Office of the Ministry of Finance