President Sirleaf Moderates 1st National Revenue Symposium; LRA Challenged to Enforce Tax Compliance

Tuesday, 18th July 2017
President Sirleaf Speaking at the occasion.
President Sirleaf Speaking at the occasion.
Photo Credit: Mr. Ousman Diallo-EXECUTIVE MANSION
Monrovia, Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has moderated a one-day symposium organized by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA). She informed the gathering that: “The real truth is Liberians do not pay taxes.” She acknowledged that the poor tax compliance culture in Liberia is a major impediment to achieving the national development agenda of the country. 
She said about 142% of support to the national budget comes from extended sources as compared to the domestic flow of the revenue needed to support Liberia’s infrastructural development agenda. She noted that with the quick-changing environment, Liberians should adopt the system of being good tax payers. 
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 while moderating a one-day a panel discussion at the National Revenue Symposium, which took place at the Monrovia City Hall held under the theme: “Domestic Revenue Mobilization.” 
She acknowledged development partners who have been supporting Liberia’s fiscal budget for the Agenda for Transformation, but was quick to note that the environment is changing and such support may not continue. “So, that is why we should start paying our taxes,” the Liberian leader passionately called on Liberians. 
President Sirleaf challenged the authorities of the Liberia Revenue Authority to ensure that some level of punishment accompanies those non-compliant in collecting lawful revenues. She informed the gathering that this was not anything new in her call to the Liberia Revenue Authority. President Sirleaf called on the Liberia Revenue Authority to ensure that all government officials, including assistant, deputy, ministers, as well as heads of autonomous agencies and public corporations, the legislature and judiciary should be made to pay all taxes owed government. 
The Liberian leader however commended Madam Elfrieda Stewart Tamba and the LRA family for the wonderful work done thus far in collecting lawful revenue. She noted that Liberia’s tax base is too narrow stressing if nothing is done to widen the tax base, the Country will not move forward. She made particular reference to the tax policy; tax laws, tax administration and management, Risks and revenue reporting system among others. 
Earlier, in her welcome remarks, the Commissioner-General of the Liberia Revenue authority (LRA), Madam Elfrieda Stewart Tamba welcomed participants, including President Sirleaf, representatives of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), among others for supporting the one-day day symposium. 
Panelists at the one-day Symposium included Madam Mary Baine, Technical Advisor, Assistance, African Tax Administrator Forum, Former Commissioner-General, Rwanda Revenue Authority who made a presentation on “Domestic Resource Mobilization,” Robert Kamel, Assistant Commissioner for Transformation & Modernization, LRA, Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo, ECOWAS-Representative, Dr. Pa Lamin Beyan, Country Director, UNDP, Liberia, and Mrs. Margaret Kilo, Resident Representative of the African Development Bank Liberia Country Office, who spoke on “Strategy for Strengthening Domestic Revenue Mobilization, respectively. 
Meanwhile, according to the LRA some 42 participants took part in the regional dialogues, which were held throughout the country. They comprised County Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents for fiscal Affairs and City Mayors who also participated in the One-Day Symposium with support from USAID-RG3 project with LRA.