April 10, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The National Revenue Authority (NRA) yesterday disclosed to journalists that they exceeded the threshold of their first quarter revenue collection for 2015, and that they were determined to meet their target of two trillion and seventy eight billion Leones for the 2015 financial year.
The revenue agency was expected to collect Le464.4 billion during the first quarter of 2015, but have exceeded their target.
It is also expected to collect Le555.5 billion, Le540.5 billion and Le566.8 billion in the second, third and fourth quarters, respectively.
Making a statement on behalf of the Commissioner-General, Dr. Sheku Kamara, Head of Intelligence and Communication Unit, said the authority believes in strengthening tax compliance through partnership with stakeholders in the country as their primary focus over the years had been revenue maximization through improved business processes to increase the ease of doing business, plus constant engagement with stakeholders to promote a culture of tax compliance.
He said they had held meetings and workshops as part of their key strategies to engage and maintain partnership with stakeholders, including tax intermediaries.
Dr. Kamara noted that the authority had introduced one-stop shops to provide timely and quality taxpayer service in a bid to reduce opportunities for non-compliance.
He said a customer service charter had been launched to set service delivery standards and a website to provide users with improved usability and functionality as site navigation has been enhanced to provide website visitors with information.
“Nevertheless, it is obvious that we will be failing in our quest to fully engage our taxpayers if we ignore the importance of the media in educating the public,” he noted.
Kamara observed that the importance of taxation to national development could not be overemphasized as it was essential to the country’s development and economic growth, adding that government depends on domestic revenue to fund public expenditure.
While giving an update on revenue collected in 2014 and strategies employed by the NRA to meet their 2014 and 2015 targets as well as current revenue status, Assistant Director of Monitoring, Research and Planning Department, Mohamed J. Foday, said the initial revenue target of the authority was projected at Le2.449 trillion, representing 12.2% of GDP.
However, he maintained that because of the emergence of the Ebola outbreak in May 2014 and its attendant revenue inhibiting consequences, especially the closure of two mining companies – London Mining and Africa Minerals Limited – that target was revised and downgraded to Le2.132 trillion.
He said the closure of border collection posts and international travelling restriction during the worst Ebola outbreak in the world, also undermined their ability to collect revenue, although they were still able to meet their target and even exceeded it.