Finance Minister pays courtesy call on Customs

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July 18, 2018

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

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Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa (wearing black hat) welcomed by Customs Officers durng the tour

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Jacob Jusu Saffa, yesterday paid a courtesy call on the Customs and Excise Department at Cline Town in Freetown.

As part of the visit, the minister also toured Customs and Excise facilities at  Cline Town and down at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay.

He was led by the Commissioner of Customs and Excise Department, Sahid Conteh, who explained the functions of the various offices.

Speaking during a presser before the tour, Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority, Dr. Samuel Jibao, thanked the Finance Minister for his ministry’s support to the revenue authority.

Dr. Jibao said revenue collection was his prime target as Commissioner-General, noting that the revenue base has been performing well due to support from the Finance Ministry, adding that the support of the ministry has been helpful and called on staff at the customs and excise department to do more.

He said they were going to set themselves a target to hit one hundred billion Leones revenue collection a week, adding that they have been waiting for the passage of the new Finance Act of 2018 to start implementation.

The NRA Commissioner-General disclosed that last Friday, July 13th, they collected over twenty-seven billion Leones and on Monday, July 16th, revenue collected was over twenty-four billion Leones, which was indicative that staff were doing well in revenue mobilisation to support the New Direction agenda.

According to the Minister of Finance, it was his duty to visit the Customs and Excise Department and that his purpose of visit was to understand the process of revenue collection and have further deeper insight into the working environment and conditions of workers.

Saffa said the government has an objective of simplifying the entire clearing and forwarding process, including customs payment, adding that they have plans to have a one stop shop to enable people clear their goods easily.

Minister Saffa remarked that it was frustrating to know that the country did not have a revenue house, adding that such showed no sign of seriousness.

He promised that the new administration would ensure they construct a revenue house outside Freetown in the next two years.

He said government spends huge sum of money to rent offices for the National Revenue Authority, and that a revenue house would end payment of rent for offices.