- Haja Kallah Kamara
Commissioner General of National Revenue Authority (NRS), Ms. Haja Kallah Kamara, has said the fight to develop Sierra Leone is not only for the revenue authority, but every Sierra Leonean by way of common aspiration and paying taxes.
Ms. Kamara was speaking last Saturday at the Family Kingdom during the third annual awards night and end of year staff party of the NRA.
She described the event as significant because it marked the 10th anniversary of the NRA, which was established by an Act of Parliament which saw a merger between the former Income Tax and Customs and Excise departments in a bid to maximize domestic revenue generation.
She said taxation is critical to every nation’s development and that the NRA plays a key role in collecting revenue for the government, a feat it regularly achieves aided by the introduction of ancillary systems to enable them maximize revenue collection.
She recalled that the NRA introduced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2009 to expedite increased revenue collection for the state, and that in 2010 the ASYCUDA system – an electronic system – was first installed at the quay to further optimize tax collection for the government.
She said that in July 2011, the NRA signed a memorandum of understanding with 13 local banks to further enhance revenue collection for the prosperity for all.
“Over the years the NRA had been collecting billions of Leones but in the year 2013 we collected over trillion Leones for the government, which showcases that work is well done. And for compliance the NRA can now boost of 88% of tax payers in the country,” she said.
Madam Kallah-Kamara announced that the ASYCUDA system will soon be introduced in border communities, including Gbalamuya, the primary border post in Kambia district en route to Conakry, Guinea.
She further enthused that hosting the recent VADA conference was a huge boost to the NRA, not least because one of theirs was elected to lead the continental body.
“This is the first time in history Sierra Leone hosted the VADA conference, which means that through the NRA the country has taken another level, and not only that, the Deputy Domestic Tax Commissioner, Alfred Akibo-Betts, a Sierra Leonean, was appointed as the new VADA chairman. It means glory to the nation,” she said.
In her keynote address on behalf of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, deputy minister Ms. Mabinty Daramy promised that the ministry will work in synergy with the NRA as the latter serves as an instrument of development in the country.
She said the NRA has been very supportive of the government’s ‘Agenda for Prosperity’, putting huge amount of funds into the consolidated fund, and called on businesses operating in the country to pay their taxes and support the government and help build the nation.
“Let me make this announcement that the NRA has raised funds that will support the country for nine months, which means that they are very much supportive of the government and the country and that is a very good step taken by them,” she said, adding that the ministry has confidence in the NRA as they believe the agency will surpass their current revenue collection mark.