LRA Beefs Up Staff Capacity

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Eleven staff members of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) have received certificates of achievement after completing a week-long intensive training course in investigative techniques that will enable them detect and fight tax evasion and related crimes in the country’s revenue sector.

The staff was selected from the Professional Ethics Department and Legal and Board Affairs Division of the LRA.

At the program making the certification of the trainees recently, LRA Commissioner General, Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, said the training was in pursuance of the Authority’s Goal #3, which focuses on creating a modern and technically effective LRA through its human assets.

Mrs. Tamba noted that the investment in the human asset is key for the success of the LRA, noting, “What is good for the LRA is also good for Liberia.”

She emphasized that the collection of national revenue is challenging, and therefore called on the Executive and the Legislative Branches of government to ensure appropriate investments in the operations and programs.

She expressed thanks to the United States Treasury Department through the Office of the Technical Advisor, Robert Cortesi, for the training and continuous support to the LRA, while admonishing the trainees to apply the skills acquired to fight corruption and collect genuine revenue for the country.

Earlier, Cortesi said investigative techniques are very critical not only for the LRA, but also the entire Country.

He described some of the areas of training as courtroom interview, court techniques, courtroom evidence and testimony, which he said are critical in fighting corruption.

In remarks on behalf of the trainees, Madam Vera Manly of the Professional Ethics Department described the training as a “milestone achievement” in their professional careers.

She noted that the opportunity provided by the LRA, empowers them greatly in the pursuit of their passion to help transform the country’s economic sector.

Those who received certificates included, Sumo Kalaplee, Vera Manly, Almed Kumah, Jallah Farkollie, Sebwe Nabwe, and Hensley Lomie. Others were Erickson Kaba, Alpha Kenneth, Oparin Korvah and Richard Martins.

In a related development, the Unites States Agency for International Development-Governance and Economic Management Support Project (USAID/GEMS) has donated furniture and equipment valued over US$100,000 to the LRA.

The furniture and the equipment are intended to help facilitate, boost and protect revenue collection in the country, the LRA said in a release.

The furniture and equipment were donated as a part of USAID/GEMS technical support to the LRA decentralized revenue collection windows.

The items which include computers, office furniture, air conditioners, and generators, are to support the LRA revenue-generating windows at several locations including the ministries of Commerce, Labor, Foreign Affairs, Post and Telecommunications, Health, Transport, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) and the Liberia Business Registry, among others.

The decentralized revenue collection widows will make it easier for taxpayers to make payments and reduce congestion at a particular location.

Madam Vicky Cooper-Enchia, Chief of Party USAID-GEMS, who made the donation on behalf of her organization, said they are especially excited about the additional 11 new and renovated revenue windows, particularly the ones destined for Duala and Red Light by the LRA to make payment easier for individuals and businesses, and to make them to more fully participate in Liberia’s development by paying taxes.

“USAID Gems is pleased to provide the furniture and equipment for LRA revenue windows expansion initiative and we look forward to the opening of these windows in the near future,” she asserted.

LRA Commissioner General, Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, who received the donation, last Wednesday at the entity’s Headquarters in Paynesville, applauded USAID-GEMS for the “invaluable investment” in the works of the LRA.

She expressed the hope that those items will significantly contribute to the goal of facilitating revenue collection for the Liberian people.

“Any investment in the LRA could yield tangible returns in terms of increase in revenue for the people and for the national good,” she noted.

Mrs. Tamba then promised the donor that the equipment will be deployed…and that the LRA will achieve their expectation of deployment time.

She emphasized that the LRA is the institution responsible for the collection of revenue for the people of Liberia, and if it is successful, and the revenues are collected, then certainly, the people of Liberia should benefit.

An executive of USAID, Roosevelt Tule, said USAID was proud of the work the LRA has been doing and that is why, it continues to support it through the USAID/GEMS Project.

Mr. Tule expressed the hope that the equipment will help the LRA to go a long way in bringing more resources coordination to speed up resource governance in the country.

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