Domestic Tax Pushes LRA Ahead of Projected Limit

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Mrs. Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, Commissioner General, Liberia Revenue Authority

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has disclosed that domestic tax collection in the month of May helped in exceeding the projected revenue target of US$34.68 million.

According to a statement from the entity, excess collected in domestic tax in May amounted to US$6.79 million, thereby increasing the projected revenue target from $34.68 million to $41.48 million.

The total revenue outturn for May included US$5.73 million Direct Transfer Payment in transit to the Tax Administration System.

In terms of administrative or operational departments, Domestic Tax Department contributed 53%, while Customs Department contributed 47% of the total May outturn.

As per the year to date performance (July 2017-May 2018), the LRA has collected a total of US$428.22 million.

However, of the total outturn of US$11.344 million (from the World Bank IDA) and US$3.193 million (from the LPRC Road Funds) were obligations for last fiscal year (FY16/17), but actualized in the current fiscal year (FY17/18).

The actual current outturn year to date, therefore, is US$413.68 million. This current outturn of US$413.68 is against a set target of US$404.49 million, registering an increase of US$9.190 million or 2%.

In appreciation of compliance, LRA lauded taxpayers for their adherence to their civil duty by paying government’s lawful taxes.

At the same time, LRA has called on others not complying with their tax obligation to do so in order to avoid shortcomings in the collection of taxes and problems that may affect them or their businesses.

The development in domestic tax collection supports recent statement by Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah, that Liberia should prioritize domestic resource mobilization.

It also boosts the prestige of LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, who protesters have in recent days called on President George Weah to remove.

Demonstrators last week stood before the LRA headquarters at the ELWA Junction in Paynesville calling on President Weah to get Mrs. Tamba out on grounds that the entity was not “her father’s farm to continuously preside over.”

They also claimed that she arbitrarily sacked some of the employees for various reasons and has allegedly refused to reinstate some of them.

On the other hand, those in favor or Madam Tamba were also seen in groups across the AB Tolbert Road, calling on the President to maintain her, “because she has put a system into place that helps to curb corruption in the revenue collection process.”

They, too, claimed that Mrs. Tamba is hated by her detractors, because she is strict with principles of integrity; something they said a lot of Liberians dislike on grounds that it prevents them from corrupting the system.

Her supporters also converged at the Foreign Ministry, which hosts the office of the President, calling on him not to err by getting Mrs. Tamba out, because doing so will bring a setback in revenue collection that will affect government’s development agenda.

Madam Tamba took over as LRA Commissioner General in 2014, when the agency was created by an Act of the Legislature to be exclusively responsible for collecting lawful revenue.

She has completed her three-year term in accordance with the Act, and she is expected to continue for another three-year term.

Mrs. Tamba’s administration has connected LRA to some international tax bodies, including the African Tax Administration Forum that regulates and publishes tax activities in Africa.

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