‘Finance Act 2009 is relevant to national development’-NRA Official
Director for Policy and Legal Affairs of the National Revenue Authority has told people in Kono and Makeni that the Finance Act of 2009 is relevant to the socio-economic development of the state as it has empowered the NRAÂ to be able to perform its mandate properly, thus adding to the revenue generation drive for the government. (Photo: NRA officials at Radio Maria in Makeni)
Abdulai Charm made this statement during radio discussion programmes held in Makeni and Kono, as part of a public education drive undertaken by NRA on the Finance Act 2009. Similar events were also held in Bo and Kenema. The public education drive by the NRA is part of the Authority’s effort to excel in its public communication effort, as a way of enhancing trust and public confidence.Â Â
The team that recently visited Kono and Makeni comprised of staff from the Authority’s Public Affairs Unit, Non Tax Revenue Department, Income Tax Department and Policy and Legal Affairs Department and was headed by Abdulai Charm, Director of Policy and Legal Affairs of the National Revenue Authority. Community and government owned radio stations in Bo, Kenema Makeni and Kono were utilized for the public education drive
The Finance Act 2009 contains several alterations or amendments geared towards improving revenue mobilization in line with international and national best practice procedures.
Speaking on Eastern Radio and SLBS in Kono, Shiaka Kamara from the Income Tax Department explained that, the 2009 Finance Act makes clear definition on the legality of non-resident persons in Sierra Leone. Section 3, of the Act, he said deals with the Income Tax Act, No. 8 of 2000. Subsection (2) deals with the establishment of a non resident person in Sierra Leone further clarified by subsection (3) which states: for the purpose of subsection (2) the permanent establishment of a non-resident person in Sierra Leone is, unless otherwise stated, the establishment through which it carries out business activities in full or in part, including activities carried out through an agent for a period of no less than 182 days during the next year.
He also explained the penalties that shall be invoked when a person fails to meet his tax obligation. He said, they include but not limited to sealing of business premises, instituting court action and preventing one from traveling out of the country.
Shiaka Kamara also explained thatÂ any person who without the authority of the Commissioner-General breaks the seal on any premise sealedÂ by the NRA or removes any goods therein, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than ten million Leones or an imprisonment not exceeding one year or both. Mr. Kamara also spoke on increase in threshold of PAYE and the implications of the amendments. He said such amendments are enshrined in several sections in the Finance Act 2009
The alterations also include, but not limited to; the rate on excise duties on alcoholic beverages.Â Here, Francis Gbaya from the Public Education and Tax Education Unit of the NRA explained that the Excise Act 1989 has been amended by the 2009 Finance Act and that any alcoholic content of 10% or less shall carry an excise rate of 30% and that alcoholic content of greater than 10 shall carry an excise of 35%.
Speaking on all the radio stations utilized for the programme in Makeni and Kono, Francis Gbaya said ’Section 2 deals with the amendments of the excise Act, 1982 amended in the first schedule; Tariff item No. 22.09 for alcoholic beverages: sub section (a) of alcoholic content of 10%, or less, rate of excise duty is 30% (b) of alcoholic content of greater than 10% rate of excise duty is 35%.He also spoke on the provisions for the automation of customs process and procedures, through the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) Gbaya stated that section 6 of the Finance Act deals exclusively with automated customs procedures.
Alfred Demby, Acting Commissioner for the Non Tax Revenue spoke extensively on the provisions contained in the Finance Act 2009 regarding the Non Tax Revenue of the NRA. He said, the NRA has now assumed direct oversight and responsibility for the collection of Non Tax Revenue, revenue stamps replacing postage stamps. He explained that the NRA now has the legal mandate to collect all fees, fines, licenses, royalties in all Ministries, Agencies and Department (MDA) of government.
Section 4Â of the Finance Act 2009 states that the National Revenue Authority Act, 2002 is amended in section 12 (a) by the insertion immediately after paragraph (a) of subsection (2) thereof of the following;Â to take over- (i) the collection of the revenues other moneys, not derived from taxation, raised or received for the purpose of, or on behalf of, the Government, hereinafter referred to as “non-tax revenue”, and required by subsection (1) of section 111 of the constitution to be paid into the consolidated Fund, including but not limited to fees, fines and royalties payable under the enactments set out in the second schedule.
With regards postage stamps, Mr. Demby said section 5 of the Finance Act 2009 states that notwithstanding anything in any law to the contrary, with effect from 90 days after the coming into operation of this Act, the use of postage stamps for the authentication of any official document is hereby prohibited. He said, with effect from the ninety days referred to in subsection (1) only revenue stamps issued by the National Revenue Authority shall be used for the authentication of official documents.
Head of the Team, Mr. Abdulai Charm, NRA’s Director for Policy and Legal Affairs moderated the programmes on Radio Maria, Radio Makeni and SLBS all in Makeni. He also moderated the radio programmes on SLBS Kono and Eastern Radio in Kono .As in interactive session, several calls were madeÂ on how to NRA should improve on its revenue generation drive.
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