President George Manneh Weah has issued Executive Order No. 103 aimed at stimulating economic growth in the Liberian economy.
Executive Order #103 is expected to solidify the gains realized under Executive Order No. 96 and to continue to stimulate economic growth in the Liberian economy, which has experienced a protracted downturn in activities and slow growth driven by the continuous and persistent declines in the prices of and demand for Liberia’s primary exports of rubber, iron ore and timber.
The Presidential Order also takes cue from the adoption of the ECOWAS CET effectively, which limits Liberia’s ability to use import duty as a tax policy instrument to protect local industries from unfair competition and dumping—something that has contributed to the low level of business activities currently experienced in the economic outputs of the industrial, commercial and retail sectors.
In realization of the situation, the President’s Order declares that the Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, in consultation with the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, may set forth a schedule of Waivers, in Regulation, to be reviewed annually by them for the granting of relief from assessment of penalties and interest related to Real Estate Taxes, Customs Duties and Related Levies including those under Administrative Review, Judicial Review, Audits or Examinations as a result of either or both failure to file or failure to pay such Taxes, Duties and Levies when due.
“Failure on the part of a Taxpayer to take advantage of a Waiver offered during an annual period shall preclude the Taxpayer from taking advantage of future annual Waivers for a period of 5 (five) years, during which period the Taxpayer is to be subject to sanctions, including the seizure and forfeiture of assets,” noted the President’s Executive Order.
Regarding Import Permit Declarations, the Executive Order No. 103 directs that all Commercial Importers of goods into Liberia are exempted from seeking Import Permits and filing Import Permit Declarations, which heretofore, have been administered by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The Commercial Importers of goods must however continue to notify the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in writing by the completion and submission of the Import Notification Form (INF), of their intent to import, which written notification shall not be used by any Agency of Government, including the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to circumvent this prohibition against seeking Import Permits and filing Import Permit Declarations.
On the Protection of Domestic Manufacturers and Producers, President Weah, via the Executive Order, directs that as a further mitigating measure, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning shall, by Administrative Regulation, impose a Surtax on goods imported into the Country that are in competition with Local Manufacturers and Producers.
Asserts further the Executive Order: “Taxable Services for Sale of Air Tickets by International Transport Services: Travel Services: A supply of Travel Services occurs at the location where the travel originates, or the Passengers embark. The Services of a Travel Agency or Travel Arranger, including the issuing of Tickets for travel that either originates within Liberia or to Passengers embarking within Liberia are Taxable; and the Rate is reduced from 10% to 7%.”
For Tax purposes, Executive Order 103 states that Travel Services mean the base fare in money or kind, paid or payable for the supply by any person directly or indirectly excluding duties, levies, fees and charges paid or payable on or by reason of the supply reduced by any price discounts or rebates allowed and accounted for at the time of the supply.
According to Executive Order No. 103, Work Permits shall be issued for a period up to five (5) years at the option of the holder or beneficiary and the fees for Work Permits shall be assessed by the Minister of Labor in consultation with the Minister of Finance and Development Planning; and shall be published by Regulations.
“Residence Permits shall be issued for a period up to five (5) years at the option of the holder or beneficiary. The fees for Residence Permits shall be assessed by the Commissioner of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) in consultation with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance and Development Planning; and shall be published by Regulations,” states the Executive Order. “Collection of Work and Residence Permits Fees: All fees for Work and Residence Permits shall be paid directly to the Liberia Revenue Authority for deposit into the Consolidated Account of the Government of Liberia.
On Surface Rental Fees, the Order directs that henceforth, a Concessionaire shall be liable to pay Annual Surface Rental for unencumbered land only.
“The payment of Surface Rental Fees for unencumbered land shall be in accordance with the requisite provisions of the Liberia Revenue Code, as amended. The encumbrance referred to herein are those resulting from legal claims recognized by the Government of Liberia which prevents a contractor from using a portion of the land granted by Government in the Concession Agreement,” the Executive Order declares.