‘The NRA is focused and result-oriented’ – NRA Official
During an exclusive interview with this medium, a staff in the National Revenue Authority’s (NRA) PR unit has maintained, that “the NRA is every determined, focused and always looking out for results, especially in terms of raising the needed revenue for the smooth operation of the government of Sierra Leone”. (Photo: Haja Kallah-Kamara, moving NRA beyond expectations)
The National Revenue Authority was created by an Act of Parliament in 2002 to primarily generate revenue for the country. Since 2003, it has continued with kits revenue collection efforts. It has, as a department, the Customs and Excise Department and the Domestic Taxes Department which is made up of the Income Tax, GST and Domestic Excise.
According to John Baimba Sesay “the performance of the NRA in 2010 alone is an indication, that the Authority is focused and will do all it could to ensure the taxes are collected. For this year (2011), Sesay said, the government has given them a target of 1.16 trillion Leones and when asked if they will meet such a huge target, he said, “this is a figure that is not beyond the reach of the NRA…it also, however depends on the support we get from all stakeholders like the importers and other taxpayers.
He also stated that the Acting Commissioner-General has always shown her determination to see how the NRA could not relent in its revenue collection drive and that “what we did last year in closing down premises of tax defaulters as stated by law shall be continued with this year…also we shall continue with our public education moves because we are aware that the public should be regularly informed on happenings within the NRA as well as about their tax obligations…”
Sesay further spoke that they were, as a revenue collection agency able to collect what they collected last year (over 950 billion Leones) because they were able to put in place robust measures in their revenue collection efforts like enforcing penalties and intensifying public education on the need for taxpayers to meet their tax obligations as well as the intensification of an effective audit.
Expanding on efforts by NRA to improve on tax collection and tax compliance, Sesay said, the Minister of Finance, when delivering the budget speech in 2010 spoke of a Revenue Management Bill to be laid before the House of Parliament for enactment and that the objective for this “is to regulate the management of revenues with particular reference to the granting of tax incentives and discretionary duty waivers. “This realistically is encouraging thing coming from the government and it shows how supportive the Presidency is, to the NRA because if government is to succeed, it also needs money to undertake development and such funds may come from donor community though about 70% comes directly from what we generate locally…”
Asked to talk about the Domestic Taxes Department, Sesay said, the NRA, under the current leadership of Haja Kallah-Kamara has seen the introduction of the Domestic Taxes Department (merging of the Income Tax and Goods and Services Tax Department). This he said, is another measure which will help integrate different tax bodies including the Income Tax, GST, Non Tax and Excise and that it will encourage specialization, increase revenue for government thus making the country less dependent on donors.
Sesay said, 2010 was a demanding year for them at the NRA since their annual target was moved three times, “…notwithstanding that we were still able to exceed our target by over 23 billion Leones…this indicates we are result-oriented…we still can do more with the support of all…” he ended.
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