The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) over the weekend in Gbarnga, Bong County, held the final in a series of two national validation workshops on the country’s draft Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) strategy. The workshop was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), supported by the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Program-II.
It brought together 100 participants from Bong, Nimba, Margibi, Lofa and Gbarpolu counties. Participants included local officials, members of the business community, representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations.
The event was intended to gather stakeholders’ input about strategic options proffered in the draft DRM strategy and basically aimed at building consensus at the local level on the way forward for domestic resource mobilization for Liberia.
At the Gbarnga DRM strategy review, the stakeholders recommended vital improvements in Liberia’s trade and industry sector, so as to enhance revenue collection and facilitate national development.
They named the agricultural, fishery, tourism, financial, transport, and the telecommunications sectors, among others, as key areas needed to be prioritized by government in strengthening the country’s economy.
“Our government needs to lead the effort in empowering local farmers by providing them loans, training, and supply of farming implements, to enable them increase productivity and become self-reliant,” the participants observed in a statement issued following the close of the workshop.
The participants believe that government should also take the lead role in promoting the diversification of the economy through the formulation of proactive and sustainable programs, to stimulate production in order to increase the tax base.
They described diversification of the economy as a very important pillar which will bring about more trade and investment opportunities.
They specifically mentioned the introduction of mechanized farming and manufacturing, which they said will boost revenue collection and domestic resource mobilization.
The participants also suggested the need for government to install proper management mechanisms of the natural resource sector by putting in place vigorous monitoring and evaluation processes, to curtail under declaration and illicit financial flows.
They want the LRA intensify its awareness program, with the aim to inform and educate all Liberians and the business sector about the importance of tax payment and its benefits to Liberia.
“In order for the LRA to expand the tax base, more people must be educated about the various taxes, payment processes and other relevant details,” the statement said.
In remarks, LRA’s Senior Technical Advisor on Domestic Resource Mobilization Momodou Foom lauded the participants for making vital inputs during the DRM validation exercise, assuring them of support.