Elfrieda Tamba Has Made Her Parents and Liberia Proud

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Like her father, Frank James Stewart, Liberia’s Budget Director through the 1970s, she went through elementary and secondary school right here in Liberia. She later traveled to the United States for college and graduate work in her father’s profession—Accounting and Management. With talent and integrity, she could have remained in the USA, or sought employment anywhere in Europe, Asia or some other African country. No, Elfrieda, like her father, who trained in Accounting and Management at New York’s Columbia University, she returned home to serve. She rose to the post of Accountant General at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI). After serving creditably in that position for a number of years, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called her to head Liberia’s Revenue sector in the Ministry of Finance as Deputy Minister for Revenues. She remained in that position for a number of years before answering another call—to join the team of Liberian and some foreign tax experts to work toward the creation of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), which she now heads with distinction.

Her excellent performance in that position has attracted many people and institutions. Several leading embassies near this capital, especially prominent European ones, have paid courtesy calls on her and her team running LRA— calls that turned into serious and wholesome collaboration towards enhancing LRA’s work and prestige. Of course, a public servant in Liberia who insists on running a highly disciplined and honest system cannot be the most popular person in the republic. Far from it, the first characterization of such a person is that she is “stupid — sitting on all that money and not taking any for herself. Leave her; she will die poor.” Mrs. Tamba has been vilified in the most cruel and despicable (vile, appalling) manner. She has yet remained focused, unperturbed and consistent in her job.

And what have been the results? They have been three-fold: first, the confidence of the administration, especially her boss, President Sirleaf, has been strong and unremitting (constant, endless). Second, Commissioner Tamba maintains the respect and loyalty of her staff. The third is a big, crowning and ultimate one: the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, last month appointed LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Tamba to the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters. According to a statement from the Secretary General’s office, Commissioner Tamba will work with 24 other members on the Committee for a tenure of four years. The Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters comprises 25 members nominated by their governments but acting in their personal capacity. Commissioner General Tamba and her colleagues were selected from a pool of 60 nominations received by the UN. The Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters is a subsidiary of the UN Economic and Social Council responsible to deal with a number of major tax issues. These include keeping under review and update as necessary the UN Model Double Taxation Convention between Developed and Developing Countries and the Manual for the Negotiation of Bilateral Tax Treaties between Developed and Developing Countries.

This high profile international recognition of one of Liberia’s leading civil servants is indicative of the hard work of CG Tamba and her team. This should make all Liberians and Africans proud. We all know how African nations have for generations been the recipients of foreign “experts” coming to Africa to tell us what to do and how to run our affairs. We thank God that our parents, our schools and other national institutions are today able to produce people like Madam Tamba who can be recognized for their expertise and appointed to serve the world’s principal international body, the UN, in such a complicated capacity.

We highly commend Commissioner General Tamba for this recognition, and urge all Liberians, especially our students, to take seriously their studies and their scruples so that tomorrow they, too, may be in the position to win professional, national and international recognition.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Non sense. Her tax policy helping to crippled Liberia economy. Burdening Liberian SME, instead of encouraging businesses to invest and grow. She hampering taxes on risk takers / job creators to sustain her and other government officials unwarranted salaries and benefits. Nobody proud of Ms. Tamba, especially downtrodden Liberians.

  2. Isn’t this the same “public servant” (Elfrieda Tamba) whose agency (Liberia Revenue Authority) is killing small businesses with their stupid regulations and red tape?? These regulations have proven to be detrimental to small businesses. They’ve resulted in prolong delays and additional taxes which are killing small businesses. Yes, the LRA is a small business killer!

    These LRA people don’t care about helping the little guy earn an honest living and get out of poverty. So they are always looking to ways to take advantage of the poor and vulnerable in our society!

    But it’s a moral outrage to deprived poor people of their God given right to earn an honest living. Small businesses, whether it’s selling kalla, used clothing (imported), street vending, hair braiding, or other kinds of self employment, have always been the way out of poverty.

    Liberians stay poor, not because they can’t find a way to escape poverty, BUT because they are hampered and hindered from doing so by our so called book people in our government!

  3. I must admit that she’s doing well managing the LRA and I cherish her competence. However, she could have been more helpful in advancing policies that could have supported small businesses – the mainstay of most Liberians. However, with caution, I am not so sure she had that influence with the gullible EJS who proposed and signed for increase taxes on the backs of poor Liberians.

  4. Indeed, she makes her parents proud by improving revenue collection in Liberia, but how the lower house with power over the purse spends the money isn’t her business. Or where the Executive Branch stashes some isn’t her responsibility. For instance, do revenues from the Maritime office in Vienna, South Virginia go through LRA? Just asking, by the way.

    Reduce the bonanza payroll for fat cats in government and state corporations; stop the criminal waste in the bureaucracy; be serious about minimizing corruption, and exploit other potential revenue sources, then the annual budget might reach the $ USD 1 billion mark, or more, ANC nominee Alexander Cummings predicted.

    Thank you Elfreda for making your parents and Liberia proud; at least, there is something positive even in the midst of hard times.

  5. With all the emphasis on tax compliance especially for SMEs, let me ask how much tax do foreign business pay to Government revenue?

    How much for example that Firestone, Mittal Steel, Sime Darby, Aureus Gold, MNG gold mining company, LAC, Salala Rubber corporation, China Union, Golden Verroleum etc, pay in tax every year. How does the figure compare proportionally to what ordinary Liberian tax payers contribute to Liberia’s GDP? Can our financial experts at the Ministry of Development Planning and the Liberian Revenue Authority explain?

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