Commissioner General Stewart Tamba Increasing LRA’s International Recognition

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2003

Madam Elfrieda Stewart-Tamba, Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), already well-known and respected in global taxation circles, has recently carved another important, high profile accolade, thereby enhancing the LRA’s international recognition.

She has been selected as Co-Chair of the Addis Tax Initiative (ATI) Steering Committee.

ATI is a body of 45 countries, including the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Ghana and several other nations in Europe and Africa, including Liberia.

ATI plays a coordinating role, among other things, in ensuring that partner countries receive the desired support for capacity building in international tax issues.

The naming of Commissioner General Stewart Tamba as Co-Chair of the ATI Steering Committee was announced by ATI Co-Chair Christopher Heffernan of Canada. Mr. Heffernan named the other selected Co-Chair as Mari Khurtsidze, Head of the International Taxation Division of the State of Georgia’s Finance Ministry.

Commissioner General Stewart Tamba is also a member of the Governing Council, Addis Tax Administration African Forum, and Chairman, West African Tax Administration Forum (WATAF).

All Liberians should be proud of the impressive international recognition of their outstanding daughter and sister, Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, and our state enterprise, LRA.

Clearly, her efficient and dynamic handling of Liberia’s Tax System is paying off, as it increasingly receives international recognition through its Commissioner General.

The Bible says, “Seest thou a man—[or woman]—diligent about his [or her] business, he [or she] shall stand before kings, and not before mean men.”

Think of so many Liberian tax officials who lost their focus because they went after money—money from the people’s taxes they collected and pocketed, ending up in disgrace and even jail.

We are not saying that Liberia’s current tax administration under Commissioner General Stewart Tamba is perfect, but suffice it to say that the world has recognized the efficient and effective tax administration she and her LRA team have put into place. They are rising to the challenge of helping their government in these times of desperate financial squeeze, to navigate turbulent monetary waters.

Remember when the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) recently protested against LRA’s stringent tax collection operations, Commissioner General Stewart Tamba, with two other top GOL economic and financial managers, Finance Minister Boima Kamara and Central Bank Executive Governor Milton Weeks, cooperated, along with the ongoing intervention of the Legislature, to mitigate the protesters’ concerns.

The Commissioner General is also working with partners in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other international partners to find ways to expand inter-African trade and industry. Among the companies targeted is Firestone which, because of the expanded ECOWAS market of 200 million people in 15 countries, could start exporting furniture made from rubber wood. This sizeable market may, at last, encourage
Firestone to start manufacturing tires and other rubber products.

Also targeted is Golden Veroleum, which plans to manufacture and export palm oil-based industrial products. And the door is open, Madam Tamba told the Daily Observer recently, “to anyone else who has something attractive to manufacture and sell across our borders and beyond.”

We hope that Commissioner General Tamba and all her co-workers, including customs workers at the Free Port of Monrovia, the Ganta, Zwedru and other interior collection points, as well as the Roberts International Airport (RIA), and the Ports of Buchanan, Greenville and Harper, will continue to keep the flag of LRA, yea Liberia, flying high. This will not only win the appreciation and respect of all Liberians, but the continued recognition of the international community, such as we are seeing in the outstanding representation of Commissioner General Tamba in the global tax arena.

Elfrieda’s father, Frank James Stewart, a Columbia University-trained accountant and finance expert who served in the 1950s through 1970s as the Liberian government’s Inspector General of Liberian Diplomatic Missions and Budget Director General, is brimming with pride wherever he is.

Frank was the son of a Gola man from Bomi County, a well-known evangelist of his day and father of many who became professionals in various fields, including Education, Adult Literacy, Evangelism, Hydrological Engineering and Law.

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