NRA introduces reforms in revenue generation, administration

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June 20, 2019

By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

nra
Deputy Commissioner General, Jeneba J. Bangura and Commissioner Genera Dr. Jibao

Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Dr. Samuel S. Jibao has disclosed that the  institution has introduced several reforms in revenue generation and administration since he took over office in 2018, adding that  the new technology they have introduced into the revenue collection system will not only increase revenue collection in the country, but also the sub region.

“We want to talk about the commencement of our reforms which will not only transform the way we collect revenue in this country but will significantly increase our revenue collection prowess in the sub region. We are talking about the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) and the Electronic Cash Register currently being rolled out by the NRA,” he said.

Addressing journalists at the maiden press conference held at the commissions new building on Wellington Street, Dr Jibao said the recently introduced ASYCUDA WORLD has reduced human interface at customs and increased the much needed revenue collection for the government.

He stated that the NRA recorded revenue increase by 36% in 2018 and that the revenue Gross Domestic Product ratio also increased by 1.5%, which according to him was not only historical but also comparable to any high performing revenue collecting country around the world.

He said after his appointment in 2018, they effected an institutional audit where they identified huge challenges of financial constraints with notable arrears to suppliers, grossly understaffed management and officers, office accommodation and procurement challenges, among others.

He disclosed that seventy percent of managerial positions which were vacant have now been filled and that the position of Deputy Commissioner General that was also vacant for over eight years has now been filled with a competent woman, Jeneba J. Bangura.

The commissioner General noted that for many years now the integrity of the institution has been questioned, hence they have reconstituted and made effective a disciplinary committee that presides over reported cases of corruption within the institution.

He said the committee laisse with the Anti-corruption to curb corruption, adding that they want to make NRA a modern institution of excellence with credibility to actualize President Bio’s dream.

He added that the sour relationship that was existing between the NRA and the Ministry of Finance was now a thing of the past, adding that such has enhanced tax administration and policy formulation in the institution.

Dr. Jibao however  mentioned that challenges like investment flows, exchange rate pressures, slower economic growth and sluggish recovery from the iron ore sector among others, were still hovering in the country, but that concerted efforts by government and the private sector were being made to stabilize the situation.

Meanwhile, the Director, Monitoring, Research, and Planning, Dr. Philip M. Kargbo, stated during power point presentation that the NRA has not only met the International Monetory Fund (IMF) and government targets in 2018, but the increase in collection in 2018 was unprecedented.

He noted that from January 1 to May 31st 2019, the NRA raised Le2.229 trillion, 36.5% higher than same period in 2017and already higher than what was collected for the whole first half of 2017 by Le240 billion, with June collection yet to come in.

He dilated on the recent reforms undertaken by the institution including the  ASYCUDA World, which, he said is a web-based advanced version of revenue collection that comes with many benefits and functionalities, adding that the system went live at the main seaport on 21st January, 2019.

He disclosed that the system has also been rolled out to the Sierra Leone Postal Service (SALPOST) and the Airport, expressing hope that it would soon be rolled out to Gbalamuya  in July.

He further spoke about the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS), which, he said is also a web-based system for domestic tax administration with many benefits to the taxpayer, the NRA and the government.

Kargbo continued that the institution has introduced the Electronics Cash Register (ECR), which is an electronic fiscal invoicing device system designed for sales data capture and reporting.

“The system has considerable benefit to revenue generation and enhanced business accounting and stock management,” he said, adding that notification of award to winning bidder has been done with a project team set up.

He disclosed that the NRA was on the verge of implementing a Domestic Tax Preparer Scheme to aid formalization of Small and Medium Enterprises, and that they were also on the move for the implementation of a national taxpayer day with series of tax clinics and tax payer education programmes.

In the area of risk management, he said NRA was currently implementing a data matching project which informs compliance risk management and tax audit.

“This will escalate current compliance risk management to a full corporate risk management in the near future,” he said.

He said in 2019, government legislated an excise tax stamp regime that would be operationalized through the enactment of a regulation and procurement of a vendor to administer the system, adding that the regulation was already drafted and would soon be presented by the Ministry of Finance to cabinet.