Four leading concessions in Liberia have been accused of owing taxes to the government of Liberia. BHP Billiton, Sime Darby, AmLib and Golden Veroleum have all been accused by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA)of failing to pay their taxes to the Government.
Making the disclosure to journalists recently at a local resort in Monrovia, the LRA Commissioner General, Elfrieda Tamba revealed that BHP Billiton owes government US$400,000, Sime Darby US$ 25,000, Amlib US$ 36,000, Golden Veroleum US$50,000 and BHP Scientific Research US$50,000.
The LRA boss had earlier assured the general public that within the first year of its operation, LRA would prosecute persons or institutions found guilty of tax evasion. They will be sued on criminal charges, depending on the magnitude because tax evasion is a criminal offense, she said.
She promised that “the LRA will ensure that these companies fullfil their tax obligations to the Government of Liberia.”
She pointed out that the LRA’s strategic principles include the enforcement of revenue law; efficient organization; effective systems and procedures, voluntary compliance and self-assessment systems as well as setting up customer service centers throughout the country where taxpayers can proceed to pay their revenues.
The LRA boss admitted that there have been leakages in the revenue system of the country. The entity will therefore be mandated to prosecute those evading the system, she said.
The LRA boss further disclosed that the new management structure hopes to adapt the principles to ensure that the leadership of the entity will make a big difference in collecting the revenues of the country.
She appealed to government to invest more in the LRA as an institution in order to strengthen it to collect needed revenues to finance development projects across the country.
“We believe that if government will invest in this entity, we will have an increase in tax collection motivation and an improvement in staff integrity,” said the LRA boss.
Mrs. Tamba said that the revenue collected by the entity is used directly by the government to fund public services to benefit all citizens as well as residents and non-residents, legal and non-legal aliens, “because government uses these tax resources to provide basic services, such as, building schools, medical services, electricity and good road facilities.”
As part of the LRA’s modernization programme, she said, the institution has promised to implement more modern and innovative strategies to enhance revenue collection.
Meanwhile, the Domestic Task Division of the LRA is engaging various entities to see how best they can meet up with their tax obligations.