‘Unmarked’ business centers in Ganta raise suspicions of tax non-compliance
Many citizens are wondering whether the government is really collecting the required revenues across the country, because many business centers are believed to be running without any trademark or service name.
During a tour of Ganta, one of the leading commercial hubs of Nimba County recently, it was established that some business centers are running without any service name and, in some cases it takes long for some business centers to print their trademark or service names.
Some of the business include gas stations, warehouses, and garages, among others.
Dormah Field is situated in the center of Ganta, where several warehouses are situated, but none of these commercial warehouses have service names, causing many to wonder whether those operating warehouses are exempted from paying taxes.
These warehouses store all types of goods, especially from neighboring Guinea on a daily basis, but nothing is known about tax compliance.
“We wondered whether these warehouses that are storing goods are duly registered and paying tax,” said Mamie Moore, a petty trader.
“These warehouses do not have service names. What happens if our goods go missing or someone sends something to any of them, how can we locate the goods?” another lady identified as Norah Kollie, added.
Nearly all auto-mechanic garages in Ganta and other towns do have service names, as do wood shops and places of apprentice.
When contacted, the Liberia Revenue Authority said all commercial warehouses (where people keep their goods and pay money daily) are supposed to pay government revenue, except for warehouses attached to stores or shops and are only for use for the store or shop attached to it.
“The collection of taxes from these warehouses or garages can be done collectively, with Ministry of Commerce responsible to register the business, then the revenue authority can go after the rest of the collection”, said a revenue agent.
“If the place is not registered and businesses are running, is the responsibility of Commerce authorities to close for compliance” said another agent.
When contacted to inquire why some of businesses do not have service names, the Commerce authority in Nimba could not respond.
One of the owners of the warehouses claims that he doing legal business, but his warehouse does not have a service name and could not show any business registration documents to substantiate his claim.
The Daily Observer established a high level of exports of petroleum products, cement and rice to Guinea, sometimes creating shortage of these items in Ganta.
However, movement of goods and services have begun in the wake of Christmas celebration in Nimba, but the question is, how vigilant are the authorities concerning these trends in the economy?
“The security are too many on the field, the same offices we passed through at the border would follow us to the warehouse to extort money from us,” a petty trader from Bong County alleged.
With high present of men believed to security officers behind the business people, many are wandering whether the government was actually the require revenues.