Liberia: LRA Eyes Record-Breaking Revenue Target

... “So far, we have reached 50.2 percent of revenue target as of June 30. The LRA under my leadership is pushed harder to increase revenue collection to beat the 2021 record of more than US$579 million,” says Nah, the LRA Commissioner-designate 

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Commissioner General designate has informed the Senate Committee on Ways, Means Finance and Budget that he aspires to move the country's revenue to a billion United States Dollars.

The disclosure from Thomas Doe Nah, the LRA current Commissioner   General, comes as his administration between 2018 and 2021 collected an aggregate domestic revenue of  US$1.954 billion.  This amount is well above the USS$1.796 billion collected in the previous four years (2014-2017), according to the LRA. 

“At the same time, the compound annual growth rate for the last four years was 8.3% compared to the 0% realized between 2014 and 2017,” said Nah, who was appointed to his post by  President George Weah on August 23. “The digital revolution is one of those inspiring forces for growth and the LRA does not seem to be stopping as it moves towards the annual billions mark.”

Nah, a  2016 graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, has steered the LRA's push for automation of tax payment processes — as he introduced and employed consistent initiatives to revolutionize revenue administration and tax payment in the country.

The result has been more computerizing filling in of tax payment and services at the LRA, ranging from electronic filing for large and medium taxpayers, acquisition of tax clearance electronically, declaring through customs digital ASYCUDA platform, Direct Bank Transfer as well as uptake in mobile tax payment across government ministries and agencies. 

This, according to Nah,  expanded revenue intake and growth even in the most difficult times of humanity – Covid 19. 

“The last five years have witnessed massive migration from manual tax payment to automated processes, creating convenience for taxpayers, ensuring revenue protections and increasing domestic resource mobilization.”

The LRA boss, who is a one-time executive of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), which he co-founded and is now the National Chapter of Transparency International (TI), told Senators during his confirmation hearing that the revenue collector is pushing harder to increase revenue collection by more than  US$579 million.

With revenue projection at US$809.5million, with domestic revenue of US$649.5million of this amount, Nah said that the LRA is on the right path with domestic revenue collections and might surpass it. 

“So far, we have reached 50.2 percent of revenue target as of June 30. The LRA under my leadership is pushed harder to increase revenue collection to beat the 2021 record of more than US$579 million.”

This means that the LRA under Nah's watch as of June 30 collects US$326,377 million (50.2%)  of the total domestic tax revenue of  US$649,587 -- leaving a balance of US$323,210 million to be collected.

However, according to the LRA, the figure is provisional as additional revenues are in transit and still being processed for push to the tax administration system.

Meanwhile,  Nah has credited the LRA's success in revenue growth to coordinated efforts geared towards building a robust digital ecosystem, curtailing abuse occasioned by smuggling and tax evasion, improving payment channels, and enhancing taxpayers' engagements and capacity of staff at the entity.

“In the last four years, we have stabilized and increased revenue collection and helped stamp out substantial delays in public servants’ salaries and payments to vendors, at the same time noting that mobilization of more revenues has given the government the fiscal space to intervene in public services, community roads, and other activities.”

Nah was first appointed to his current post in 2018. He is an experienced civil society actor and financial sector professional that has worked and advocated for improved governance systems in post-conflict Liberia. 

He has over twenty-five years of experience in banking, non-governmental sector management and is an avid promoter of technology as a means of getting things done.