April 21, 2016
The National Revenue Authority (NRA) has announced impressive revenue figures for its first quarter revenue collection drive. Revenue target for 2016 is currently at Le2.545 trillion and out of its first quarter (Q1) target of Le592.7 billion, the Authority collected Le Le610.3 billion, thereby surpassing its Q1 target by Le Le17.5 billion. Furthermore, most revenue streams improved in 2016 as compared to the same period in 2015. Also, the NRA collected Le64 billion more revenue in Q1, 2016 than in Q1, 2015.
The Director of Monitoring, Research and Planning of the NRA Dr. Philip Kargbo who is currently attending the World Bank/IMF Spring meetings in Washington DC., noted that the target for Q2 is likely to increase significantly. This is because it is at these meetings that the country’s economy is appraised and NRA’s targets are either reviewed upwards or downwards, based on economic conditions and other mitigating factors. Dr. Kargbo further explained that the revenue target for 2016 will be revised and finalised following discussions between the IMF and the Ministry of Finance to reflect increased economic activities, and government’s post-Ebola recovery plans and actions.
As a result of the Ebola outbreak, GDP growth rate was revised from 11.3 percent at the beginning of 2014 to 6.4 percent, and macroeconomic indicators became unstable with inflation heightened and exchange rates becoming volatile. The combination of weaker revenue positions and enormous spending to combat the epidemic undermined government’s fiscal position in 2014.
Nevertheless, 2016 is so far promising to be another remarkable year for the NRA with scaled-up budgetary support for national post-Ebola recovery plans. Although the deterioration in international prices of iron ore weakened revenue collection efforts in 2014 and 2015, revenue figures from NRA’s Q1 collection indicate a significant increase in revenue collected from petroleum excise duty due to an increase in the operations of mining companies. As a result, the Non-tax Revenue (NTR) and the Customs Services (CSD) departments over-performed with NTR collecting Le23 billion in excess and CSD Le10 billion in excess.
NRA’s Director of Finance who is acting Commissioner-General in the absence of Madam Haja Kallah-Kamara who is also attending the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, stated that taxation is fundamental to economic growth and sustainable development. Mr. Abdulai Conteh said “Being able to mobilise domestic revenue is crucial for any government as it affects fiscal power and ability to reduce foreign aid dependency, provision of essential public services and promotion of pro-poor development. This important responsibility has been given to the National Revenue Authority (NRA), and I am happy to say our performance in revenue mobilisation has been remarkable in recent years”.
Assistant Director, Monitoring and Planning of the NRA, Mohamed Foday noted that while the socio-economic effects of Ebola is still being manifested in the country’s economy, the NRA will implement tax policy measures to boost revenue collection. They include conducting revenue enhancement researches, developing and implementing a revenue accounting and reconciliation system, improving business processes through modern technology, specifically involving the automation of non-tax revenue processes to ensure correct & timely payment of all non-tax revenues.