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GST; towards January 1st 2010

GST; towards January 1st 2010

The socio-economic and political development of Sierra Leone is based on a number of factors, primarily among them, is the willingness of the majority of the citizenry and foreign residents to give significant support to government. It does not mean that because one is giving support to government, or, is card-carrying member of the party in power, he/she should not criticize that government when it goes wrong, and is not stimulating goods and services reaching the people. Still, government should also be praised when they do things which are praise worthy.

Over the past two years especially, efforts have been taken by this government to accelerate economic development in the country. And this is where all hands should come together in the dream for a better Sierra Leone.  The National Revenue Authority (NRA) is one of major components, responsible for the growth of Sierra Leone, both in terms of economic and social standpoints. Despite the seeming challenges ahead of the authority in terms of ensuring people comply with tax payment; it has been working towards meeting the dream of President Koroma.  The test phase of the Automated System for  Customs Data, and the soon-to be-introduced Goods and Services Tax all being examples of how the NRA has been working towards actualizing the dream of President Koroma.

All things being equal, the National Revenue Authority (NRA) is well set and placed to ensure the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax. As has been stated over and over again, the Goods and Services

Tax is not a new form of taxation, but instead, a replacement of seven existing taxes in the country.     Before the GST comes into effect on January 10, 2010, there exists taxes like: import sales tax, domestic sales tax, restaurant tax, message tax, entertainment tax, hotel accommodation tax and professional services tax.  But with the pending Goods and Services Tax all of these taxes are going to come under one umbrella, thus creating an enabling tax environment for the taxpayer.

So, in essence, GST is not a super imposition on the existing tax structure, but a replacement for these taxes listed above.

When the Goods and Services Tax is introduced, we shall still continue to pay income tax. Now, in Sierra Leone, there are two broad categories of taxes-direct and indirect taxes; direct tax is the class of taxes levied on incomes and earnings. It is an obligation on every citizen to pay tax on incomes and earnings.

Goods and Services Tax, like the current sales and other taxes on goods and services, will be collected by businesses that are actually registered with the NRA to serve as agents on behalf of the Authority.  These businesses will charge tax on all their sales, taxable under the laws of the Goods and Services Tax.  It should be noted in this regard that the registered business is also charged GST by other GST registered businesses from whom taxable purchases are made.

There are potential benefits that would attract business people to register with GST and they include, but not limited to, a GST registered business enjoys the benefit of getting back the GST incurred on impute purchases by deducting it from the output they charge on to their customers.  It will also lead to a positive standard in terms of record keeping and at the same time, ensures transparency in business practices, better planning and helps to strengthen internal controls within a business setting.

But on a whole, it could be stated that the commitment of the government towards improving the standard of living of the average Sierra Leonean has gained momentum, and there are signs that things will change one day for the better. That is why state institutions should continue in their efforts towards cohesive national development.  The NRA may be having challenges, especially in ensuring that people are not coerced to pay taxes, but this is a challenge it shall definitely overcome one day.  The GST is just one of several steps aimed at helping in improving the standard of living in Sierra Leone. It will go a long way in ensuring an improvement in the economic front of this country.

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Comments
  • It’s a believeable that the introduction of the GST will results to the suffering of the final consumer,because the importer will gain his/her profit in increasing the price because there is not price control in this our Country. So, a’m appealing to you neither to reduce the tariff or cancel it, till the unemployment are handled.

    01/05/2010
  • GST is just not workable in Salone under the present circumstances.This will bring undue hardship on business people and untold sufferings on the people of Salone

    12/24/2009

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