NRA Public Affairs Unit: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 June 2020:
Revenue Mobilization is a key instrument for the Government of Sierra Leone in increasing financial independence, achieving middle income status and delivering on the ideals of the New Direction programs in the country.
The last two years have witnessed some of the most audacious reforms in the Country’s tax system. The National Revenue Authority (NRA) has consistently registered an increase in tax collection by 1.1 trillion Leones in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
In 2020, the NRA had projected an estimated 25 billion Leones as an average collection rate per day, but with Covid-19 currently ravaging economies, that number was dropped to 21 and 22 billion Leones as an average collection rate on a daily basis.
When asked why the Revenue is still on the high end, the Commissioner General – Dr. Samuel S. Jibao, said: “We have built systems capable of absorbing shocks in the economy and that is why our collection rate was not badly hit.”
The NRA Boss said there are possibilities of the economy recovering if Covid 19 is eliminated in the coming months.
Apart from gaining grounds in revenue generation and mobilisation, the institution has had improvement in its governance, organizational effectiveness and transparency output. Something that disappeared – until the last two years.
NRA Governance has improved substantially over the last couple of years. This is fundamentally attributed to the robust appointments in critical areas of its operations which was non-existent.
The Board is playing a more effective role; and the relationship between the NRA and the Ministry of Finance has improved significantly. “To me this is the start of the turning around of this institution, and our next achievement will be the operations of our reforms”.
COVID-19 Pandemic and the measures on Revenue administration
Sierra Leone reported its first case of COVID- 19 on March 31st 2020. By then the impact of the pandemic was manifesting itself globally with lots of negative effect on the economy and by extension the NRA.
Sierra Leone is largely an import driven economy which means a distortion in the global economic stability is expected to have an immense impact on the import flow and consequently on import related revenues, especially when China and Europe are major trading partners being epicentres of the outbreak.
The proactive Commissioner General of the NRA – Dr. Samuel S. Jibao, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, activated Tax Deferment procedures – allowing importers of essential commodities to utilise the Customs warehouse suspense regime whereby importers can import goods and pay later; provision of income tax reliefs and concessions in the form of tax deferrals for an initial period of three months to cushion the effects of COVID – 19 on businesses, especially the hospitality and the aviation industries.
The income tax relief were also extended to businesses whose products lack market domestically, and whose key customers and partners are currently out of business or closed – both locally and internationally.
As part of celebrating his second year in office, the administrative-minded NRA Boss decided to visit some of the most remote border crossing points in the North of Sierra Leone. Other high ranking NRA officials over the weekend visited Dogoloya- a border crossing point in Kabala, Sanya – a little over a Hundred miles from the Northern town of Makeni, Kono, Gbalamuya, Port loko and Lungi international airport.
The NRA Boss said he is dedicating this second appointment anniversary to touching Base with NRA Staff accross the Country – no matter where the staff is – “as long as there is a NRA post, I will visit, he said”.
The delegation included the Customs Commissioner – Abu Kanneh, Domestic Tax Commissioner- Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, Assistant Commissioner Border Controls and Management – Richard H. Senesie and other NRA Officials.
Dr. Samuel S Jibao is the first Commissioner General to have all official border crossing points in Sierra Leone, says Assistant Commissioner Border Controls and Management – Richard H Senesie.
The Commissioner of Customs – Abu Kanneh, encouraged his staff at various customs post to be professional as they work for the institution and by extension – Sierra Leone. The Commissioner General is set to do similar trips in the future.
The public affairs and tax education unit of the NRA, Sierra Leone.
“Death and Taxes” are the guaranteed in life, that’s the belief of the most powerful nation in the world the USA. If the new direction succeeds in the fight against corruption, tax revenue and education , Sierra Leone will take a quantum leap within 10 years in terms of Human Capital Development just like Botswana. Let’s continue to hope and pray that our government will succeeded so every Sierra Leonean will be proud.
Kudus to the stakeholders at NRA for their relentless efforts in generating the much needed revenues for state functioning. Albeit the leakages and corrupt tendencies here and there by officials working within NRA, this particular institution remains among the top performers among the government MDAs. Revenue growth and collection enhancement have always been a priority and each successive commissioner has managed to move the needle in the upwards direction.
Special thanks to the current commissioner Dr. Samuel Jibao for his leadership skills and patriotism. The sad realities on the ground however is the manner in which these revenues are being squandered by unpatriotic politicians who think Sierra Leone belongs to them only.
This is good news for our country. The ramping up of tax collections has always been one of the issues affecting our country’s development. People owning export and import business, get away by paying bribes to tax collectors. Government wharf was known as muggers paradise. We need more trained customs and excises officials that breath fire, to stop big business owners avoid paying the right tax that applies to their business model. I think the NRA should go after tax dodgers, just like the anti corruption commission is going after corrupt officials that steal from the state.
Once government collects the taxes, they should be put to good use, so the general public see the benefits of the taxes they are paying to government coffers. Investment on roads construction, education and health care and will encourage people, who in the past were reluctant to pay taxes to do so now, in the knowledge that they are contributing to national development. I am not here to defend tax doggers. The citizens often hear of corrupt people in high places, so rightly or wrongly, they ask themselves why should they pay taxes to enrich fat cats that do not care about the country’s development. It seems the only thing that keeps this pot-bellied politicians awake at night is, where to hide their stolen loot. Meanwhile, the Okada and the Okeke guy is trying to make a hand to mouth living. At the end of the day, if people can see the monies they are paying improving there lives, surely they will be more than happy to pay what is owed to the government.
Nice to hear about Revenue Mobilisation by the NRA. But how could Dr Samuel S Jibao allow himself to take pictures with people who are not respecting the social distancing rules? Very appalling. Should those who are not wearing their masks or just hanging them arround their necks be arrested by the police?
See what happened the other day when Dr Francis Kai Kai, our hardworking Minister of Economic and Development Planning, invited our respected Members of Parliament in his office. They were all wearing their masks and correctly. Even President Bio has his mask on all the time.
Public officials must show example for others to follow. I hope Dr Samuel S Jibao will correct the situation the next time around. Thank you very much President Bio and Dr Francis Kai Kai for teaching us the basics to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone. By the way, if anyone on that photograph falls ill, the whole group should be quarantined. God bless President Bio, Dr Francis Kai Kai and Dr Samuel S Jibao.