Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba addressing the opening of the of the dialogue in the Zwedru’s Administrative Building The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has concluded series of regional dialogues on domestic resource mobilization, with Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba calling on Liberians and other residents here to pay only their “fair share” of legitimate taxes due the state.
She said Liberia can be developed like any other country in the world, but cautioned that this cannot be done with donor money or when people refuse to pay taxes which are needed to foster development and provide better social services.
According to a press release, Commissioner General Tamba made the call recently when she addressed the opening of the forth regional stakeholders’ dialogue on domestic resource mobilization in Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County, southeast Liberia.
Held in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) under the auspices of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Zwedru dialogue brought together at least 75 stakeholders, including businesses/investors, traditional leaders, religious and student groups from Grand Gedeh, Maryland, and River Gee Counties, respectively.
The gathering, like previous ones held in Buchanan, Tubmanburg, Gbarnga and Monrovia respectively, provided an opportunity to initiate discourse with various stakeholders, partners and taxpayers on a national Resource Mobilization Strategy to be finalized at the country’s first ever national revenue summit slated for June this year.
Commissioner General Tamba indicated that the LRA has a herculean task of collecting revenues, but noted that the task is achievable through collective efforts. “Yes, we can make it, yes Liberia can be developed as any other country, but we cannot do that depending on donors’ funding”, she said.
Donor support, the LRA boss emphasized, is drying out; the world now is focusing on what is within. “You have the businesses, let the businesses pay their fair share of taxes, you have the individuals, let the individuals pay their fair share. Government officials, LRA employees, we all must pay our fair share, and that is how we will develop our country and to improve the link between revenue generation and expenditure,” the CG asserted.
“The LRA advocacy is simple,” Mrs Tamba explained. “We all must pay our just and fair share, from the highest to the lowest taxpayer.” She reminded the participants that the task of collecting revenue is very challenging but not impossible, adding “The task is indeed a big task; it is very challenging amidst the low level of tax consciousness and low tax-paying culture which we have in Liberia. And this low level of tax consciousness permeates all counties through the length and breadth of Liberia.” The Commissioner General continued: “Is our task achievable? I say yes: through collaboration, through education, awareness, building that national tax-paying culture and consciousness of our citizens and residents.”
Ministry of Finance Assistant Director for Regional Planning, Stephen F. Guzeh, underscored the importance of the dialogue, stating that the government is hungry for development, and that development cannot be carried out when there is no money. “This dialogue is very important because we want you to help us on how we are going to mobilize domestic revenue,” he said.
Grand Gedeh County Development Superintendent, Abraham Gbehway, emphasized that information and sensitization on tax matters is crucial to getting citizens very involved in paying taxes. “When community members are involved with education and sensitization, a greater impact can be made,” he added, noting that the LRA should develop more interactions with the public, including community participation in social mobilization. Press Release