ITR Global Tax 50 2022: Mathew Olusanya Gbonjubola and Liselott Kana
Co-chairs of the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (UN Tax Committee)
The UN Tax Committee’s role could not be more vital to global tax policy. It is one of a few standard-shaping institutions that sits within a truly global body, the UN. Its role is to scrutinise and recommend rules on international taxation, including levies on multinational corporations.
The UNTC has produced valuable guidance and standards on issues such as a transfer pricing (TP), negotiation of bilateral tax treaties, taxation of the digitised economy and extractive industries.
While the OECD might get more attention and resources, it is the UN that can claim true global reach and fairer international representation. Unlike the OECD, which is largely controlled by 37 of the world’s richest countries, the UN has allowed developing nations to take the lead on finding solutions to crucial tax issues.
Liselott Kana and Mathew Olusanya Gbonjubola chair a diverse group of 25 members of the UNTC. The committee is arguably one of the most powerful multilateral policymaking forces in tax.
The two co-chairs will be a driving force in promoting the tax agenda of developing nations in an area dominated by the rich nations of the OECD. Kana and Gbonjubola are expected to play a significant and influential role in leading the UNTC at a time of great upheaval in international tax policy.
The OECD’s two-pillar solution has stalled, and the UN General Assembly has announced its intention to take a tax leadership role. Many countries will be looking to leaders and an organisation with experience of passing key tax legislation.
In addition, developing nations – which make up the majority of countries in the world – are likely to look for a voice in a more representative body with the ability to act as a counterweight to the OECD.
While starting her career at Arthur Andersen in London, Kana has gained substantial experience as a public official in Chile. This has involved leading the country’s tax negotiations as head of international taxation as well as founder and president of the International Fiscal Association Latin America.
A chartered accountant by profession, Gbonjubola has a breadth of commercial expertise in auditing, finance and taxation. This includes 25 years’ experience with the Federal Inland Revenue Service in Nigeria, serving in areas including TP, tax policy, international tax and investigations.
Gbonjubola also holds significant global leadership positions, including as co-vice chair of the G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS, and co-chair of the OECD Working Party 6 on TP.