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BusinessGeneralLiberia news

LRA seeks financial autonomy

By Ethel A. Tweh 

The Liberia Revenue Authority seeks fiscal autonomy from the 55th Legislature to allocate 5% of annual national revenue collected to increase its capacity as it strives to grow revenue to US$1 billion or beyond.

LRA Commissioner General Dorbor Jallah made the request during his appearance before the plenary of the Liberian Senate on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, when he was invited to comment on the Senate Agenda Plans to its oversight to increase the National Revenue Envelope to US$1 billion.

Commissioner Jallah says the recommendation could be addressed by amending the LRA Act to give at least 3% or at most 5% of the annual revenue generated for the national government, adding that the decision will put Liberia on par with other revenue authorities in the region.

According to him, the chief collector house of government’s taxes had not received even 2% of the annual budget under past regimes to build its revenue generation capacity and accelerate progress in the country for good governance.

The LRA boss noted that the institution’s budget is unpredictable, indicating that fluctuating the budget makes it difficult for the entity to execute its numerous initiatives and sustain its programs while exerting frantic efforts to extend the revenue envelope to US$1 billion.

“As it is right now, our budget is unpredictable, similar to other agencies in the budget. The Ministry of Finance prepares the budget; it comes to the legislature, and then there is a debate and discussion around that; sometimes we’re lucky, like this year, all of you were very kind to us to grant us a budget of around US$22 million. At other times, it was proposed as low as US$13 million,” he laments.

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He expresses hope that the legislature, through the Senate, will see the urgent and necessary need to legislatively revisit the LRA Act by allocating the recommended 5% of the total generated revenue every year and ensuring it remains consistent.

Jallah adds that this change will provide the Liberia Revenue Authority with a stable financial foundation for procuring essential logistics tools, investing in technological infrastructure, and adopting innovative revenue generation solutions.

“Empowered with these resources, the LRA can significantly increase the national revenue, surpassing the US$1 billion threshold and extending the national resource envelope to unprecedented levels.”    

He observes that in the 2024 national budget of over US$738 million, the legislature approved US$22 million for the LRA, constituting 3% of the total annual budget. He considers this amount reasonable and laudable for handling the over 1,000 employees and all of its programs aimed at collecting the needed revenue for the country.

“I think we will cross this US$1 billion collection threshold annually and it will be history if the needed resources for the LRA are given through the annual national budget,” Commissioner Jallah pleas. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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