The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) in recent days appreciated taxpayers for their contribution and compliance with the country’s tax policy. There were 33 businesses and individuals appreciated and certificated, some of which included LoneStar Cell MTN, Orange Liberia, Monrovia Club Breweries, Passion Hotel in Bong County, Jungle Water Group of Companies in Nimba, among others.
Among the institutions, LoneStar Cell MTN was pointed out as the highest taxpayer in the Republic of Liberia, a laudable activity that anyone or institution can be recognized for. The award was a first for the LRA in appreciation of taxpayers whose financial contributions to the country’s economy have made minimal impacts, but maximized the accounts of corrupt, inhumane and unpatriotic government officials.
Apart from being the first of its kind in Liberia, the ceremony, accompanied by certifications of taxpayers in various categories, also alludes to motivational theories that encourage organizations and individuals to outperform each other in their compliance with policy. It is interesting to note that the LRA did not only target big businesses that bring in more money, but considered the small and medium businesses as well, encouraging these businesses which are also making strides in complying with government’s policy despite the challenges they face in the country.
The expected motivation resulting from this insightful managerial style of the Elfrieda Tamba Administration at the LRA was expressed in views of representatives of the recipients during their remarks. Babatunde Osho, the CEO of LoneStar Cell MTN, promised that his company will not only be the highest taxpayer next time, but will also be the most compliant company. George Mensah Asante, the managing director of Ecobank Liberia, encouraged other competitors to also be honest in paying their just taxes, and not to evade or cheat in any form. Even John B. S. Davies, president of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) promised to unseat Ecobank as the most compliant taxpayer next time around.
Now that the Liberia Revenue Authority has started pinching taxpayers through motivational ceremony to be tax compliant, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) should begin devising its own means to complement this by implementing a tax return policy, if there is any. If not, MFDP must try to draft and submit it for legislation in order to give back taxpayers a little portion of what they are giving out in taxes that corrupt public officials enjoy.
It may be recalled that a few years ago Montserrado County Superintendent Florence Brandy told LRA officials in Bentol that Liberians and foreign residents in the country were paying taxes, but were getting nothing out of the taxes because there is no tax return policy for taxpayers. She repeated the same statement early this year at a consultative meeting LRA held with local authorities of Montserrado.
The keynote speaker of the occasion, Vice President Joseph Boakai, encouraged businesses, individual Liberians and institutions to cultivate the idea and mindset of paying taxes to promote development and civic responsibility. While the importance of paying tax to development cannot be overstated, it is also expedient to note that civic responsibility comes with a responsible government that will demonstrate humility to the people from whom it collects taxes, and one of the ways to do this is via tax returns.
When tax returns accompany tangible development projects, including roads, electricity, water, agriculture and protective policies, citizens will feel inclusive in the nation’s economy and will also build a spirit of patriotism. The Daily Observer therefore encourages the government to institute a tax return policy to put smiles on the faces of taxpayers.