On why NRA and journalists should collaborate
The National Revenue Authority, the agency responsible for collecting revenues for the government has met with representatives from the Network of Economic and Development Reporters (NEDER) in a bid to explore the possibility of working in partnership so as to contribute to Sierra Leone’s development strides. On the 31st of January 2011, the Network of Economic Development Reporters forwarded a letter to the Commissioner-General, requesting for a partnership with the NRA, in terms of reporting on economic and development issues and this led to a meeting between the NRA and the NEDER.
Held on the 23rd of February, 2011 in the Boardroom of the NRA, the Director for Admin and Human Resource, A. O Kamara in his statement thanked the Network for expressing interest to work with the National Revenue Authority. The request, he said came at a time when the Authority saw the need to always work with the media taking into account the crucial role that both NRA and the media have in Sierra Leone’s development. He also said there are good things to be reporting about the NRA like the agency’s contribution to Sierra Leone’s GDP. The NRA’s contribution to national development is great, A O Kamara and also added that this is also the case with the media’s contribution, especially in informing and educating people on national and other issues. The success of the NRA, he went on depends on the support it gets from the media and taxpayers among others and therefore commended NEDER for such an initiative.
Also present at the meeting was the NRA’s Director of Finance, Abdulai Conteh, who said the NRA is the breadbasket of the nation and as such needs the support of all and sundry especially the media. He implored on the representatives from NEDER to let people see the strides of the NRA through their media reports.
Augustine Beecher is Coordinator for NEDER and also works for Premier News Newspaper. He thanked the NRA for the meeting and expressed his Network’s appreciation for the response it got from the NRA. He said they would focus on developments stories especially in terms of how NRA has been contributing to national development. Another representative, Mohamed Koroma who works for the New Vision newspaper, gave a brief background to NEDER, when he explained that the network came about following a month long training they received from the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalist. He explained that the Network was established against the backdrop that much has not been reported by the media about the economy and development.
The NRA, Mohamed Koroma said has direct impact on the country and as such they look forward to working with the agency in reporting economic and development stories. Rachel Horner, Organizing Secretary for SLAJ and also of Concord Times in her statement thanked the NRA for its audience given them and said it is good that both organizations are exploring how they could all work towards Sierra Leone’s development.
The National Revenue Authority was created by an Act of Parliament in 2002 to among other functions, generate revenue for the smooth running of government. Prior to its creation, there were two main revenue collection agencies namely; the Customs and Excise and the Income Tax. However in 2002, these agencies were brought under one umbrella, the National Revenue Authority (NRA). Its functions, among others include initiating, developing and sustaining programmes for public education on the need for the payment of taxes and the consequences of non-payment. The intervention of NEDER is therefore seen as being in line with NRA’s determination to get the public informed on the agency. The NEDER on the other hand is a network of media practitioners, having a representation from the print and electronic media, concentrating on reporting economic and development issues in the country.
Over the years, the NRA has been succeeding in its revenue collection efforts and particularly in 2010, factors which led to the agency’s impressive revenue performance were, among others the effective public education drives that were embarked upon, through media campaigns across the country.
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