ECOWAS, GoL to Discuss Transition from GST to VAT

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has announced that it will send a three-member high-level delegation to Monrovia from May 30 to June 2, to hold a series of discussions with the government to assist in the smooth transition from the goods and service tax (GST) to the value added tax (VAT). 

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the Minister of Justice, the Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, and the VAT Reform Committee will represent the GOL at the negotiations. 

Tei Konzi, Commissioner of Trade, Customs and Free Movement, will lead the ECOWAS delegation, which will also include Salifou Tiemtore, Director of Customs and Taxation, and Renilde Bazahica, a VAT expert. 

The ECOWAS delegation will also meet with representatives from the European Union and the United States Agency for International Development, as well as the ECOWAS Special Representative in Liberia, to establish engagement modalities with the National Legislature. 

According to Assistant Finance Minister T. Ojuku Nyenpan, Liberia’s VAT Ministerial Focal Person, the ECOWAS delegation will specifically focus the discussions on the “roadmap towards a possible adoption of the VAT Project so as to bring Liberia into regional alignment with the rest of the sub-region.

“[And] better understand the main challenges faced by Liberia; identify the support from ECOWAS in order to propose practical solutions leading to the adoption of the VAT within the sub-region; better understand the main challenges,” he said.

The scheduled high level talks come following the successful launch of the Support Program for Fiscal Transition in West Africa (PATF) activities in Liberia in November 2021. PATF is being financed by the European Union (EU) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for the benefit of ECOWAS Member States.

As part of PATF activities, Liberia is receiving specific support under this program for which the Government of Liberia is expected to implement VAT in the country in line with ECOWAS standards. To support this component, a non-principal expert is now based in Liberia to ensure the effective achievement of program objectives and to introduce the VAT reform in Liberia.  

In addition to Liberia, PATF is supporting Nigeria and Guinea Bissau to implement VAT in line with the ECOWAS VAT Directive.