20% domestic revenue may not be achieved, Ban predicts  

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September 19, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

A domestic revenue tracker released by Budget Advocacy Network (BAN) in partnership with Action Aid Sierra Leone has predicted that if the current revenue collection trend continues, Sierra Leone will not meet the 20% domestic revenue to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2023.

The report indicated that the average percentage of domestic revenue to GDP from April to June this year is 1%.

During his speech at the State Opening of the House of Parliament in May this year, President Julius Maada Bio stated that his administration would increase domestic revenue from 11.5% to 20% of GDP in the next five years.

According to BAN’s National Coordinator, Abu Bakarr Kamara, his organisation and Action Aid Sierra Leone saw the president’s commitment as very vital for the delivering of essential social services, especially that of free education and healthcare.

He said they decided to track the commitment with the release of a quarterly revenue tracker.

Kamara told journalists yesterday at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex in Freetown that if the 20% was to be achieved as announced by the President, the National Revenue Authority (NRA) must apply the law stringently to enforce revenue collection and also expand their tax base.

The BAN boss also urged the country’s revenue agency to increase its already impressive revenue collection push by closing loopholes and leakages.

However, using the projected nominal GDP figure for 2020, Kamara noted that Sierra Leone should collect more than Le703 billion per month by 2023 to hit the 20% of GDP.

“With more resources, the social sector will be adequately financed and hence citizens will access essential services,” he said.

He revealed that data use for the tracking was the published monthly statement of the Consolidated Fund, which included actual revenues and expenditures done by the Accountant-General’s Department and published on the Ministry of Finance website.

According to the report, between January to March this year, government expenditure was far more than the income raised, while April and June expenditure was less and within the income raised, showing prudent financial management.

The report also indicated that government spending between January and March was Le390.3 billion on capital development, while Le10.6 billion was spent from April to June.

Also, wages, salaries and employee benefit decreased from January to April but goes up from May to June.