By Hassan G. Koroma
In its quest to promote transparency and accountability in the collection of revenue for the state, National Revenue Authority, NRA, last Wednesday held an interactive meeting on the rolling out of ASUCUDA to Gbalamuya custom post in Kambia District.
The meeting was held to inform and educate importers and stakeholders on the rolling out of the ASUCUDA system and new development in tax administration in the border town between Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Making statement on the purpose of the well-attended meeting which was held at the Resource Centre at Kambia Town, Corporate Affairs Manager, Mohamed Bangura, said the NRA is charged with the responsibility to collect revenue for the state by targeting tax payers, including exporters and importers of goods.
He noted that Gbalamuya is an exit point between Sierra Leone and neighboring Guinea where a lot of transit take place, hence they thought it expedient to engage importers and stakeholders in that part of the country about the use of the ASUCUDA system, in order to help promote transparency and accountability in revenue collection.
In his presentation, ASYCUDA Manager, Raymond Kamara, said ASYCUDA is a computer system that is being used in many countries for revenue collection and that it helps prevent corruption in revenue collection as well as promote transparency and accountability.
He said the computer system was introduced in 2010 and that it has been installed at different areas, including the Queen Elizabeth quay at Cline Town in Freetown, the Freetown International Airport, Lungi, thus the need for it to be installed at the Gbalamuya customs post.
He said the system has lots of advantageous, and is operated according to the laws of Sierra Leone, adding that it helps prevent corruption among workers of the revenue agency as it precludes them from handling physical cash.
Speaking on behalf of other Paramount Chiefs in that part of the country, P.C. Alimamy Fabeh Kokoriko Kondogbala II of Gbelleh-Dixon Chiefdom, Kambia district, said the initiative was a welcoming development, and promised traditional rulers would do all their powers to encourage their subjects to comply with the system, for the benefit of the country.
In his keynote address, Head of Customs and Excise, Sahid Conteh, said the concept of a computerised system was introduced to modernise tax collection in the country, and that the system had been very successful in other countries.
Since the system was introduced in the country, he said, a lot of development has taken place in revenue collection, including NRA exceeding projected revenue generation target for the past financial year.
He said the system would effective today (5 May 2014) be operative at the post, gate way to the Republic of Guinea.