The newly established Liberia Revenue Authority or LRA has reported total revenue of US$124.9 Million for the first quarter of 2014/15. LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, said the amount represents taxes collected for July, August and September 2014, against a total projection of US$2.6Million for the same period.
Commissioner Tamba gave the first quarter revenue performance report on Friday, October 24th during a press conference hosted in Monrovia. She applauded four concession companies for being in full compliance during the period under review, including Golden Volerum Liberia in Sinoe County, Western Cluster in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties, Maryland Oil Palm Corporation in Maryland County and Putu Mines in Grand Gedeh County, respectively.
The LRA Commissioner General also revealed names of delinquent companies, including AMLIB, BHP Biliton and Sime Darby Plantations. As part of ongoing reforms in the public sector, the Government of Liberia has transformed the revenue department at the former Ministry of Finance (now Ministry of Finance and Development Planning) into an autonomous agency. The LRA was legislated in September 2013 and commenced operation on July 1, 2014.
Commissioner Tamba said the agency is committed to collecting all lawful taxes partnering with various stakeholders in straight compliance with the principle of “fairness, transparency and equitability.”
She said the LRA is finalizing a MOU with the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission that would provide for prosecution of tax evaders and other unscrupulous business practices. She stressed the need to streamline collection systems and procedures while encouraging voluntary compliance and self-assessment among business entities.
Speaking of problems in the revenue collection process, she identified key threats as increased leakages, fake tax receipts, under declaration of income, import and export, property value and smuggling, among others.
Commissioner Tamba added that the LRA has constituted a taskforce that is collaborating with UN Habitat to map the entire Monrovia as has already been done for Buchanan and Gbarnga respectively in identifying personal properties and business institutions for easy revenue collection, including property tax.