ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa discussed with representatives from developing member countries and development partners how to address the challenges that the region faces in domestic resource mobilization (DRM) and international tax cooperation (ITC) while aspiring to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a world reshaped by COVID-19.
These challenges include the narrow tax base and volatility in tax-to-GDP ratios among ADB’s developing members as well as the need for stronger collaboration to manage aggressive tax planning and combat tax evasion. This requires a higher level of participation in international initiatives such as the Inclusive Framework on BEPS (base erosion and profit shifting) and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. ADB announced the establishment of a regional hub on DRM and ITC, which will be designed as an open and inclusive platform to address these challenges.
In the panel discussion, OECD Director Pascal Saint-Amans emphasized the huge demand for capacity building in ITC in the region and the vital role of the proposed regional hub in facilitating policy dialogue and coordination of capacity building efforts among development partners.
IMF Director Vitor Gaspar discussed the importance of developing a tailored medium-term revenue strategy that will serve to establish a country’s strategic objectives. He stressed that national action plans developed under the hub must therefore align with the revenue strategy of each developing member.
Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati highlighted the importance of strengthening DRM and ITC in support of sustainable development. She applauded the establishment of the regional hub to promote peer-to-peer learning among developing members and close cooperation with development partners.
Representatives from the World Bank, Pacific Islands Tax Administrators Association, and Study Group on Asian Tax Administration and Research welcomed the timely establishment of the hub and signaled their interest to collaborate in strengthening DRM and ITC in the region.
Masatsugu Asakawa is the President of the Asian Development Bank and the Chairperson of ADB’s Board of Directors. He was elected President by ADB’s Board of Governors and assumed office on 17 January 2020.
Before joining ADB, he served as Special Advisor to Japan’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and has a professional career that spans nearly 4 decades in diverse fields such as international finance, development, and taxation at the Ministry of Finance.
Mr. Asakawa also worked for international organizations as the Chief Advisor to ADB President between 1989 and 1992, senior staff at the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF (1996–2000), and Chair for the Committee on Fiscal Affairs at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2011–2016).
Mr. Aso had previously served as Prime Minister, minister of foreign affairs, minister for internal affairs and communications, and minister of state, economic and fiscal policy of Japan.
Mr. Gaspar was minister of state and finance in Portugal from 2011-13. He has held various positions in European and Portuguese institutions, including head of the Bureau of European Policy Advisers at the European Commission, director general of research at the European Central Bank, director of Economic Studies and Statistics at the Central Bank of Portugal, and director of Economic Studies at the Portuguese Ministry of Finance.
Sri Mulyani Indrawati
Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati served as minister of finance of Indonesia from 2005 to 2010. She was the managing director and chief operating officer of the World Bank Group from June 2010 to 2016. She was appointed minister of finance in 2016 and re-appointed in 2019.
Mr. Saint-Amans joined the OECD in 2007 as head of the International Co-operation and Tax Competition Division in the Center for Tax Policy and Administration until he was appointed director in 2012. He held various positions in the French Ministry for Finance and served as the financial director of the Energy Regulation Committee before joining OECD.
Ms. Ferguson is a highly respected public sector leader with more than 25 years’ experience in revenue agencies in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. She is currently leading a major transformation of inland revenue, designed to make tax simpler, as well as more open and more certain for New Zealanders. Ms. Ferguson also leads the Gender Balance Network of the Forum on Tax Administration led by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The network aims to encourage and support women leaders in tax administrations worldwide.
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