Commissioner General-designate of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Thomas Doe-Nah, says in a bid to achieve the government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity, the country’s revenue-base must be expanded beyond an annual budget of US$500 million.
Mr. Doe-Nah said for too long Liberia’s annual budget has struggled to go beyond the half a billion mark, but the LRA under his stewardship will strive to go all out to change the situation by raising the needed revenue to support the country’s development agenda.
Mr. Doe-Nah said it was disheartening that other countries are advancing, and the lives of their people changing, while Liberia remains at the same spot over and again.
He made the statement on Wednesday (Aug. 22), when he, along with his deputy-designate for Technical Affairs, Decontee T. King Sackie, appeared before the Senate Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget for confirmation hearings.
Mr. Doe-Nah said that more revenue sources, and simplified tax systems will be introduced as ways to spur tax compliance and boost domestic revenue collection.
Among others, Mr. Doe-Nah expounded on improving revenue collection in the real estate and tourism sectors as well as building on existing initiatives of sealing up revenue leakages, using modern information communication technologies, stamping out corruption, and enforcing transparency and accountability initiatives.
He said to boost revenue collection, premium will be placed on creating a people-centered LRA, a customer and business-friendly tax environment as well as ensuring educational and outreach programs that will enhance the public’s understanding of their tax obligations.
Doe-Nah said that employment at the LRA will be merit-based, and that there will be no room for corruption, promising that both parties connected to corrupt a corrupt act will face the weight of the law.
“We will fight corruption at both ends,” Mr. Doe-Nah assured the public.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Sackie informed the Senate Committee that she will work with Mr. Doe-Nah to meet the targets of the LRA, and to take it to the people.
Mrs. Sackie said the ground work of moving the LRA to a greater level has already been laid via the Authority’s 5-year corporate strategic plan, which emphasizes increasing voluntary compliance, and effectively administering revenue legislation.
She then called for building the capacity and technical skills of LRA staff, specifically in auditing in a bid to track down hidden taxes.
Mrs. Sackie said that more emphasis and investments will be done in taxpayer’s education through outreach initiatives into the communities, schools as well as teaching tax education in universities and colleges.
The two LRA officials-designate thanked President George Weah for reposing confidence in them to serve their country and promised not to disappoint the President and people of Liberia.