Harnessing big data and ICT to boost revenues

Think WIDER Webinar Series - New perspectives on domestic revenue mobilization

Our Think WIDER Webinar Series - New perspectives on domestic revenue mobilization continues on 22 November 2022 with a presentation and a panel discussion on Harnessing big data and ICT to boost revenues.

About the session

Countries in the Global South have increased their tax revenue in recent decades. Still, overall revenues have often remained too low to sustain the provision of critical public goods. How can developing countries improve their tax systems, increase compliance, and mitigate the potentially harmful effects of taxation on enterprise growth and job creation?

One way is by taking advantage of data to evaluate and plan policy. In recent years, also low-income African countries have started to make taxation-related data sets available. These data have enabled, and continue to enable, several new avenues of research to help improve policies.

This one-hour event shares the insights data has helped to reveal on e.g. tax audit efficiency, recovery of firms from COVID-19 pandemic, income distribution and on taxation of multinational corporations in Africa. The webinar is chaired by Professor Jukka Pirttilä, and the introduction to the topic is given by UNU-WIDER Research Fellow Amina Ebrahim. The presentation is followed by a panel discussion with Giulia Mascagni, Research Director at the International Centre for Taxation and Development, Allen Nassanga, the Assistant Commissioner for research and innovations at the Uganda Revenue Authority, and Timo Laukkanen, the director of the Strategy Realization Office in the Finnish Tax Administration.

About the speakers

Jukka Pirttilä is a professor of public economics at the University of Helsinki and also works as a Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow at UNU-WIDER. He has previously worked for the University of Tampere,  Labour Institute for Economic Research (Helsinki, Finland) and the Bank of Finland. He conducts research on topics related taxation and social protection in developing countries.

Amina Ebrahim is a Research Fellow at UNU-WIDER. She is the focal point for the Domestic Revenue Mobilization programme. Her research interests include labour and public economics, focusing on employment, tax, and social policies. She works on making large administrative tax data available for research and collaboration with African revenue authorities.

Giulia Mascagni is Research Director at the International Centre for Taxation and Development (ICTD) and Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS). She is a development economist, and her research focuses on taxation in lower-income countries. She is Research Advisor to the Rwanda Revenue Authority, member of TADAT’s Technical Advisory Group, Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe, and Research Associate of the Institute of Fiscal Studies (UK).

Allen Nassanga is the Assistant Commissioner for research and innovations at the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). She joined URA in 2005, and has worked on major ICT projects, such as the Integrated Tax Administration System (ETAX) which led to the introduction of e-filing and online payments, and the Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence project (EHUB), aimed at integrating data and enhancing data analytics and usage in URA. Allen Nassanga holds a Master’s degree in Information Technology from De Montfort University, UK, and a strong personal vision of using research as a driver of innovations and transformations in tax administration.

Timo Laukkanen is the director of the Strategy Realization Office in the Finnish Tax Administration. Strategy Realization Office ensures and guides the implementation of the strategy of the Finnish Tax Administration. He has also been the project manager for Finnish Tax Administration's multi-year capacity development project with the Tanzania Revenue Authority and has worked with several other developing countries. Timo has also worked on short-term assignments for OECD and IMF and has been a member of the steering group for OECD's Tax Administration 3.0.