New LRA Boss Aims for Annual Revenue Beyond US$500M

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Mr. Doe-Nah and along with his deputy-designate for Technical Affairs, Decontee T. King Sackie, appearing before the Senate Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget for confirmation hearings Wednesday at the Capitol Building (Photo: LRA)

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.

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1 COMMENT

  1. A great achievement of the EJS-led government was focused efforts at modernizing and digitizing revenue collection under Mrs Elfreda Tamba, even though over half a century fixation with free-for-all robbing of everything the nation owns made a resource-rich (formerly respected) Liberia so poor and dysfunctional that some consider it one of the prodigal sons within ECOWAS. It is with this sorry state of affairs as a backdrop, we receive with hope the realization and resolution of Mr. Nah Doe to expand our annual budget of USD $500 million.

    However, as optimistic as we are, none would pretend that Nah Doe’s resolve alone can bring the hoped-for economic recovery in a Liberia where perceptions abound that national wealth and resources belong to anyone with the greedy cunning to squander or steal them. Take, for instance, the sad tale of revenue collectors sitting in the offices of local and foreign businesses helping them evade paying the right amount of taxes; or the reportedly frenzied smuggling of precious minerals, such as gold and diamonds, by various officials in cahoots with con artists masquerading as entrepreneurs. Together, these rapists of our revenues are richer than the nation by far!

    We seem to forget that the economy is the pillar of political stability and national security, therefore, availability of money is key, which would suggest government must collect every cent, and be careful how it spends. That’s why, among other policy proposals on its plate, the political leadership must take two urgent steps (not connected with loans) to recalibrate our economic approach.

    Firstly, further stabilize unsustainable compensations of higher echelons in the three branches of government and state corporations which consume one-third of a paltry USD $500 million annual budget; and, secondly, reestablish the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs with a skeleton staff of computer-savvy economists and relevant professionals. For as many belatedly realized, writing development plans is one thing – ala AfT, Vision 2030 – but a group of experts have to, for example, cost them, evaluate efficacy, update those considerations and intervening constraints that may crop up, including sometimes help identify funding sources. And that isn’t job for one individual no matter armed with squeaky clean character, capacity, and commitment.

    To end, wiser citizens have long long time ago recognized that something was fundamentally wrong with revenue collection and monetary management in our country causing perennial economic bleeding with the inevitable consequences of wide poverty, disatisfaction, and contentious polarization. Dishearteningly, the repeated application of bandaids aren’t stopping the profuse bleeding. So let’s take bitter medicine or see a surgeon to operate; or, better still, die as a functional sovereign state, since every year others must hand us “budgetary support”. After all, if the instrument is broken, the music will be sour regardless of how talented the musician asked to play it. Folks, for the safety, protection, and unity of our father and mother land, let’s all add our two cents to the national conversations though a frivolous few may blow smelly farts.

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