The Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Elfrieda Steward Tamba says tax evasion and other related crimes are becoming complex that there is a need for administrators to collectively battle to save domestic revenue.
Madam Tamba made the assertion on September 20, at the beginning of a two-day capacity building for tax auditors, organized by the LRA and the Organization for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD).
The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration drafted Vision 2030 under the theme, “Agenda for Transformation” and the African Development Bank (AfDB) has a long-range plan of Vision 2060 which calls for “The Road Towards Inclusive Growth” in 50 years.
In order to achieve these visions and long-term goals, Commissioner Tamba said there is a need to accelerate the battle against tax evasion and other illicit financial flows.
One step to enforce the battle, according to the LRA Commissioner General, is to build the capacities of auditors to be able to detect tax evasion and other tax-related crimes that cause money for the country to disappear at border points.
She disclosed that under her watch at the LRA, steps have been taken to protect Liberian domestic tax by ensuring that bribery, tax evasion, and unethical business practices are combated.
It may be recalled that a number of employees have been dismissed for their involvement in bribery and lateness or absence from work without excuse.
According to Madam Tamba, the world’s attention is drawn to increase in financial crimes, including tax evasion, money laundering, and other malpractices, for which national legislators have gone ahead to draft new laws to support the fight against financial crimes.
Madam Tamba’s statement is backed by remarks by United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres at the 72nd Meeting currently ongoing in New York.
On the topic, “Financing the 2030 Agenda-the Role of the United Nations,” Mr. Guterress said “Finance is very pivotal for success. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda highlights the importance of being innovative when it comes to leveraging resources and financing for development.
“This includes tax reform by developing countries themselves-but also international efforts to fight tax evasion, money laundering and the illicit financial flows that have depleted domestic resource bases.”
The Commissioner General added that the effect of tax evasion is enormous to the extent that it gravely affect the ordinary people whom lawful tax should positively impact through national development initiative.
She expressed excitement for the training and urged participants from major towns and cities across the country to actively participate and get a clearer understanding of their duties and responsibilities.
She added, “We have the cogent responsibility to address tax crimes in the country as tax administrators and by extension our region and continent at large. Auditors in all countries must have the technique to detect tax evasion, and this is why the LRA invited the Organization for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD) to come and help.”
In a welcoming statement earlier, Darlington Y. Talery, head of Domestic Tax at the LRA said there are so many complexities in tax transactions and the training for the auditors are needed.
He said the seminar is meant for information exchange between and among tax administrators and auditors in order to tackle some of the complexities.
Tax-related crimes and illicit financial flows have gained attention on the African continent over the years.
It may be recalled that in 2013, the Kofi Annan Progress Report on Africa was revealed on BBC news that tax avoidance, secret mining deals, and financial transfers were depriving Africa of the benefits of its resources boom.
Mr. Annan indicated that firms that shift profits to lower tax jurisdictions cost Africa $38 billion a year. “Africa loses twice as much money through these loopholes as it gets from donors,” he was quoted by the BBC.