ECOWAS Roll-out New Tax Program for Liberia

ECOWAS HQ in Nigeria.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has launched its West African Tax Transition Support Programme (PATF) for Liberia.

Launched at a resort in Monrovia recently, the PATF was attended by officials of government from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Liberia Revenue Authority as well as members of the civil society organizations, respectively. 

In his opening address, the head of ECOWAS Customs Union and Taxations, Tiemtore Salifou, welcomed the participants to the official launch of the PATF in Liberia. He said that “West African Tax Transition Support Programme (PATF) is a new program funded by the European Union Commission of US$10 million for the benefit of UEMOA, ECOWAS, and the Member States.”

Mr. Salifou highlighted the four main objectives of the program as improving the management of domestic taxation, strengthening the regional fight against fraud and tax evasion, optimizing the institutional capacity of UEMOA, ECOWAS, and the Member States and promoting public debate on domestic taxation in partnership with civil society, private society, and the academia. 

The expected result of the PATF, he said, will provide domestic tax management in member states to ensure improved and better coordination in the region through effective VAT management and control of tax expenditures.   

He said the program will also focus on sharing results of the PATF, current status of reforms that are being carried out in Nigeria, Guinea Bissau.  Mr. Salifou added, “So we are here in Liberia to help the government strengthen their capacity to ensure that they collect more revenue.” 

He called on the Government to migrate to the Value Added Tax (VAT) program that will focus on domestic revenue mobilization to tackle current realities. He said the VAT is tax-based that it is controlled by reconciling all of the data that are necessary to calculate the tax on profits.  

Mr. Salifou noted that integration of the tax data concerning any company is in a single file.  “It suggests that any companies who are subject to the VAT must be able to keep an account’’ he added. He stressed the need to set up a high threshold of liability for VAT stating similar progress which was done in Guinea Bissau should be repeated here.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Ministry of Finance and LRA lauded the head of ECOWAS Customs Union and Taxations and other delegations for launching the PATF in Liberia.

In their statement, the officials said the program when fully implemented in the country will lead to the improvement in the management of tax expenditures and the establishment of a common system for sharing tax information in a bid to create a regional platform.