Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 November 2021:
Members of Sierra Leone’s Parliament, last Wednesday – 17th November 2021, debated the government’s proposed revenue and spending plans for 2022 which are enshrined in a Bill referred to as “The Finance Act, 2022”.
The Bill which makes provision for raising of taxes, duties, rates, fees and implementation of government financial policies, was approved subject to several amendments put forward by MPs.
Presenting the Bill, Minister of Finance, Dr. Dennis K. Vandy said that the Bill will support sound and prudent fiscal management of the economy and provide tax exemptions for importing elections materials, arms and ammunition, presidential medals and health related equipment.
He said that the Bill will amend existing laws to enable the government effectively to manage the economy amid growing fears of rising cost of living, growing levels of unemployment, falling tax receipts, declining foreign aid, and rising government borrowing.
Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament, Francis Amara Kaisamba SLPP MP, said that the primary objective of the Bill is to provide for the imposition and alteration of taxes in support of the Government’s fiscal policy for the year, 2022. He added that several Acts would be amended to address some of the economic issues in the country and to ensure sound and prudent management of the economy.
PC Kanagbaro Sanka III MP, suggested that funds for disaster management should be managed by the Office of the President instead of the National Disaster Management Agency.
Lahai Marah – APC MP, described the Bill but said that higher taxes on basic commodities would affect ordinary people in the country.
Joseph Williams-Lamin SLPP MP commended the Minister of Finance for presenting the government’s budget and supported the idea of third-party collection of taxes in the country.
Abdul Kargbo MP, said that Parliament could play a role in cushioning the effects of the current economic reality in the country proposing tax reductions.
Abdul Karim Kamara MP feared that frequently amending laws could lead to making bad laws, adding the said Bill has taken some of the functions of the National Public Procurement Authority in the country.
Rev. Ishmail Sama Sandy MP suggested reduction of taxes on import of flour from 10% to 5%, and also butter for the benefit of the ordinary people in the country.
Peter Yamba Koroma MP called tax reduction to give the Bill a human face, adding the government should not only focus on increasing taxes, but they should also reduce taxes.
Festus Mohamed Lansana MP said that amending existing finance laws must aim at improving the welfare of the people and effectively manage the economy.
Leader of NGC, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella MP said there are many good ideas in the Bill but feared several laws that have been passed by Parliament are now being amended yet again.
Leader of the Opposition, Chernor Bah MP described the Bill as the most important document that has been brought to Parliament for consideration. He said some aspects of the Bill have circumvented existing laws already passed by Parliament.
Speaking on funding and upholding existing laws, he said the Bill should concentrate more on revenue generation and called for reduction of taxes on certain commodities to help reduce poverty in the country.
Concluding the debate, the Leader of Government Business, Mathew Nyuma MP said that the Finance Minister has powers under the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone to control agencies under his watch and said that adequate consultation was done before the Bill was brought to Parliament for enactment into law.
He also said that the Ministry of Finance is on track and that it is not in violation of laws that have already been passed by Parliament. He said the 2022 Finance Act will impose and alter taxes for the good of ordinary citizens.
You can read the Government 2022 Budget Statement here: