NRA to redeem Sierra Leone from austerity
February 8, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
As the country is fighting to overcome the current austerity precipitated by economic slowdown, the National Revenue Authority (NRA) has on Monday, 6th February, 2017, disclosed that they have a financial target of three trillion, five hundred billion Leones for this year.
The National Revenue Authority was established by an Act of Parliament in 2002 with the primary aim of collecting taxes on behalf of government, and over the years the institution has been exceeding their yearly targets.
Updating the press at their Wellington Street Office about their 2016 successes and challenges and also what they intended doing in 2017, Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at NRA, Dr. Philip Kargbo, said people sometimes ask as to how NRA set their annual target.
He said as Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, he was part of the group that set yearly target led by the Economic Policy and Research Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, plus other representatives from different departments and agencies in the country.
He said when setting the forecast, they first start with the economic performance of the past years, thereby enabling them to set a target for the New Year.
“But before doing so, we reach out to various economic entities like hotels, mining companies and all other sectors of the economy to get an understanding as to what was their performance during the previous years,” he said.
He said in 2016, the initial target during the process at NRA was two trillion, four hundred and forty six billion, but when they reached out to various sectors of the economy, they realised that the NRA was collecting significantly high at their first quarter.
“We have to increase the target to two trillion six hundred and forty-eight billion Leones which showed two hundred and two billion Leones increase on the initial target. We also later realised that Airtel was going to be sold to Orange which was also added revenue and the final revenue that was raised for 2016 was two trillion, seven hundred and ninety-nine billion, seven hundred and four million Leones. That indicated we collected ninety-seven point nine billion Leones as against our target,” he said.
He disclosed that in the final figure, the Domestic Tax Department collected eighty- three billion more than what was targeted, while custom collected four point five billion, and the nontax Revenue department collected nine point nine billion, which implied that all departments at NRA met their set targets and exceeded them.
He said in the area of reform at NRA since 2009 to 2016, they have done a lot in transforming the authority to a better institution.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Domestic Tax Department, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, said meeting their target was not something easy, and that at the 1st of December, 2016, they had over three hundred and twenty billion Leones collected.
He said domestic tax was actually exceeding target based on actions they have been taking in the area of tax collection, and that they shall continue to put more effort for more tax collection.
Director of Finance at NRA, Abdulai Conteh, said their corporate social responsibility was a mandate from State House, and that a few years back they saw students suffering to go for classes at Fourah Bay College, they decided to buy and donated a 24 seater bus to the college, adopted a village that they were transforming, as well as donated to Ebola victims and flood victims.