Stakeholders are calling for total support and backing of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) in the full implementation of the country’s first-ever comprehensive Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) Strategy.
The stakeholders, representing local and international development partners and NGOs, civil society and the business community, describe the strategy as attractive and inclusive to boost revenue collection in Liberia, if fully implemented. They are however wary of its full implementation, citing perceived funding challenges and diminishing donor support.
According to a press release from the LRA, the call came during a two-day stakeholders’ engagement on the dissemination of key messages in the country’s DRM Strategy which climaxed last Friday in Gbarnga, Bong County, with about 50 participants attending.
They want inclusive and appropriate use of revenue collected for development, which would in return attract tax compliance and spur revenue growth to boost national development. When collected taxes are used to impact lives of the people through the provision of basic social services; they would be moved to become more tax compliance, the stakeholders note.
DRM refers to the generation of revenue locally and their allocation to economically and socially productive investments, including basic social services such as roads, electricity, quality health and education. It is potentially the biggest source of long-term financing for sustainable development and life blood of all state governance such as the provision of public goods and services. President George Weah last year endorsed the 5-year strategy.
Besides providing the opportunity for participants to clearly understand Liberia’s DRM Strategy and suggest ways forward for implementation, the UNDP-sponsored engagement presents strategy options and areas of interventions to stakeholders.
The exercise made stakeholders to clearly understand how the DRM Strategy is critical in financing the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and creating sustainable livelihoods in Liberia.
Speaking at the event, UNDP Economic Specialist and National Economist Stanley Kamara underscores the importance of the DRM Strategy for Liberia’s development and pledged the UN agency’s continuing support to realizing the aspirations of the strategy.
He applauds the LRA in leading efforts to finalize the document. Kamara discloses that Liberia is among very few countries in Africa to have promptly started the DRM process immediately after the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
He says UNDP’s support to the program began since 2016 during the LRA nationwide regional dialogues which culminated into the National Revenue Symposium in Monrovia in June 2017 that gave birth to the Strategy.
He notes that the implementation of the DRM Strategy is also geared towards meeting targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs which has 17 separate goals that affect every aspect of society.
Mr. Kamara explains that unlike the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which was heavily donor dependent, the SDGs is dependent on domestic revenue generation. This is where, he adds, the DRM Strategy comes in.
Making remarks on behalf of the LRA Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah, the Assistant Commissioner for Policy Molley Kiazolu underscores the importance of the DRM and how it is tied to the PAPD.
Participants, in their recommendations, call for total political will from government, among others, to boost the implementation of the document. They fear that in the absence of political will and donor support, it would be another document left to dust on the shelf.
The pro-poor agenda is an ambitious strategy that seeks to better the lives of Liberians, he said, adding that to achieve this agenda, there must be capital to do so. “That’s how the DRM Strategy is tied to the Pro-Poor Agenda. Press Release