The country’s first ever Taxpayer Appreciation Day saw at least 33 business houses and individuals, including Lonestar Cell MTN, Orange Liberia, and Monrovia Club Breweries, awarded the Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes for outstanding performance in tax compliance and contribution value for fiscal year 2016/2107. Lonestar paid the highest amount in taxes.
Passion Hotel in Bong County, Jungle Water Group of Companies of Nimba among others, received certificates under the two core business areas of Domestic Tax and Customs.
The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) organized event was also the first for the institution, which commenced operations on July 1, 2014. The program was intended to recognize and appreciate taxpayers based on two underlining considerations: tax contribution and tax compliance.
The awards, given in the subcategories of Large , Medium and Small Tax, Petty Trader, Real Property, and Highest Taxpayers for Counties, covered tax payment records for Fiscal Year 2015-2016.
The awardees also received one-year tax clearance certificates as complementary prizes in addition to the plaques and certificates.
The keynote speaker for the program held at the Monrovia City Hall, Vice President Joseph Boakai, urged Liberians, businesses, and institutions to cultivate the idea and mindset of paying taxes to promote development and encourage civic responsibility.
It is important for all Liberians to cultivate the culture of lawful tax payment if they want to see greater and accelerated development programs and the positive advancement of the country,Vice President Boakai said.
He praised the awardees for leading the way in tax compliance and encouraged others to follow suit.
In her statement, LRA Commissioner General (CG) Elfrieda Stewart Tamba thanked the awardees for their contributions to domestic resource mobilization, which she said has helped in the initiation of vital projects and programs to enhance national development.
CG Tamba stressed that the collection of lawful revenues provides the government of Liberia the means to undertake and implement development projects for the betterment of the country and its citizens.
The theme of the day was “Creating A Culture of Voluntary Tax Compliance” and was organized in collaboration with the USAID RG3 Project and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
The program also witnessed the launch of LRA’s Corporate Social Responsibility through a Memo of Understanding with the Blind School and the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
Mr. George Mensah Asante, Managing Director of Ecobank Liberia, which received the award for the Most Compliant Large Taxpayer Institution, expressed delight and commended the organizers for the recognition given to Ecobank.
He explained that Ecobank’s dedication to innovation, its hard work to satisfy the needs of its customers, and compliance with its tax obligations to the LRA earned the bank the award, “and Ecobank is very proud to receive it.”
He said, “We also encourage competition. It is a good idea so that as we compete everyone will be paying the rightful tax to LRA and they will receive more money and the nation will benefit.”
The LRA said during the period under review, Lonestar Cell MTN paid the highest taxes for fiscal year 2016/2107.
Vice President Joseph Boakai commended Lonestar saying Lonestar’s commitment is a show of support to the country’s development and urged others to emulate the good example of the entity as ‘a good taxpayer.’ He also thanked the LRA “for this great initiative.”
The CEO of Lonestar, Babatunde Osho, dedicated the award to all Lonestar Cell MTN subscribers, who he lauded for keeping the company in business, adding “we are all winners of the award.”
Mr. Osho, who spoke on behalf of all the winners at the event, appreciated them for winning the awards for fiscal year 2016/17.
“Next year, it is my promise that we will not just be the highest taxpayer, but we will also be the most tax compliant company. We are committed now and in the future to paying our taxes,” he said.