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Ibrahim Sorie Kamara is DTD Commissioner

Ibrahim Sorie Kamara is DTD Commissioner

Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, who until 72 hours ago was Acting Commissioner for the Income Tax Department of the National Revenue Authority, has clinched the position of Commissioner for the pending Domestic Tax Department. This department is expected to take effect by January of next year. His appointment came about, following an intense but healthy competition, as applications were submitted by competent Sierra Leoneans both in an out of the country.  (Photo:  Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, Commissioner-DTD)

The National Revenue Authority (NRA) is undertaking a Modernization Programme which is aimed at increasing effectiveness and accountability in revenue collection. This plan will also effectively help in significantly improving on the delivery of services to taxpayers and stakeholders.  Part of this plan is to merge the Income Tax Department and the Goods and Services Tax Department and to be named the Domestic Tax Department.

The introduction of the Domestic Tax Department is not a new tax but an administrative change in the NRA. The DTD structure, according to a recent presentation by Chris Kaweesa, Lead Consultant for DTD, is going to be functional-based and aims at harmonizing operations, streamlining accountability, strengthening functional and interdepartmental linkages and promoting transparency & objectivity and also will lead to revenue enhancement & efficiency in delivery of taxpayer services.

In one of series of stakeholders engagement between NRA and taxpayers, the Acting Commissioner-General, Madam Haja Kallah-Kamara spoke, that the DTD will be one more success story of the agenda for change of H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as it will ‘integrate different tax bodies; encourage specialization; and significantly increase revenues, and would help our country to become less dependent on foreign donors’

Speaking on his plans for the Department, Commissioner Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, who has a wealth of experience on taxation revealed, that he has his key areas of priorities even before the DTD comes live by next year. ‘I want to look at the composition of DTD… the required staff and their job description… I also will look at job alignment even before the DTD comes into full operation by January next year…’ and also said he will first look at staff from the GST and the ITD and see what they can offer and then ‘think of looking for other skills from out…’ if the need arises.

Commissioner Sorie Kamara, with over seven years of experience in the NRA stated, starting as Director of the Internal Controls and  Audit for four years and three years as Acting Income Tax Commissioner  said  the DTD is a new department and as such, he aims at ‘improving tax compliance at a reduced cost, both in time and money…’ He revealed that he is going to look at the current way of tax administration and explore the possibility of reviewing the system  and procedures of tax collection where necessary  ‘…and then look at the taxpayer comprehensively as one, since we are bringing GST and Income Tax together…’

Asked on how he wants to further increase on the revenue collection efforts of the NRA, Commissioner Ibrahim Sorie Kamara spoke that there are laws that deal with enforcement procedures and that  the DTD will ensure,  enforcement procedures  are strengthened and review laws, where necessary and ‘above all, the department will ensure an effective taxpayer sensitization…’ Going further, he said, the department will look at the area of filing of returns, especially the accuracy of the information submitted by taxpayers…’

‘We will widen the rental income tax base by doing a comprehensive survey of property owners, amending and improving laws on rental and capital gains tax, maintaining and updating taxpayers registration and setting up investigative mechanisms to track down unregistered businesses..’However mindful of the fact that he needs the support of staff, Management and the Board, he said, all of these plans will be achieved when he gets the full support of all and therefore called for continued support from workers. He promised to continue to motivate staff, ‘through the support of Board and Management…’

His employment as Commissioner for the DTD has been seen as a right move in the right direction, especially taking into account his number of experience and his youthful age. ‘He will definitely help to increase on the current turnaround taking place in the NRA, especially in terms of revenue mobilization revenue for  government’, remarked an official of the NRA and further said, ‘this shows, the NRA has the human resource to always move this country forward…’

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