LRA collected US$786.6M
By Bridgett Milton
Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Deputy Commissioner General for Technical Services Mr. Gabriel Montgomery says the entity collected US$ 742.5M dollars last year.
Speaking Tuesday, 31 January 2023 before the Joint Budget Committee at the Legislature, Montgomery said on the domestic front, the LRA collected US$605.0M against a revised target of US$651.6M.
Last year, he said, the Legislature gave the LRA a gross revenue target of US$786.6M which eventually grew to $811.6M.
According to Montgomery, this was due to the introduction of a US$25M supplemental budget in April.
“Although Domestic Revenues fell short of its revised target by 7%, actual growth above the previous year, 2021 is US$25.9M or 4.5%,” Montgomery explained.
“The shortfall below the revised target could well be ascribed to forecasting error. Over the years from 2018 to 2022, domestic revenue has remained on a steady growth path year-on-year, averaging 7.2% per year,” he noted.
The LRA official indicated that these gains in revenue growth are largely stimulated by smart reforms in revenue administration.
“We have made significant progress in rolling out our electronic fiscal devices, and excise stamps, both of which are crucial in raising revenues and reducing under-declaration and smuggling,” he informed the lawmakers.
Montgomery stated that the LRA’s compliance clustering program has also gained traction, as well as the real estate decentralization pilot project in Margibi.
He said LRA also aims to operate at the very frontiers of technology in tax administration.
According to him, these latest trends in information technology include the deployment of new a Liberia Integrated Tax Administration System.
Additionally, Mr. Montgomery said the LRA’s ASYCUDA system can now boast of a lot of success stories.
“With the use of the ASYCUDA, Customs administration in Liberia is now able to track the movement of goods, track the supply chain of goods, [and] conduct Time Release Study (TRS), that is, how long it takes to clear a container from our ports,” he said.
As LRA strives to meet the nation’s increasing demand for domestic revenue, he said the entity also needs to consider the impact that tax incentives and other generous policy regimes have on the revenue basket.
Each year, he said, more than US$300M is lost to tax waivers and incentive programs.
Also speaking, the Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs Samora Wolokolie said this year’s budget is aimed at maintaining consistency
with international best practices and also with businesses and public enterprises in the country.
He said the total resource envelope for Fiscal Year 2023 is US$777,943,212.50.
Wolokolie added that of this amount, 16% or
(LRD 20.1 billion) is domestic currency, and $656.6 million, or 84% is actual United States dollars.
“The total projected revenue from Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) is US$667.9 million or 86%, while external Resources account for US$110 million or 14%,” he said.
For FY 2023, he said there are no new tax policy measures underpinning this budget.
However, Wolokolie explained that they intend to further strengthen current tax policies that are already in effect and to present a draft amendment to the revenue code to replace the goods and services.–Edited by Winston W. Parley