The National Revenue Authority has on 5th June sensitized members of civil society on tax waivers as part of it drive to reach out to CBOs, Local Councils and other civil society agencies who are hard to reach out to in terms of general taxation.
Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, Commissioner of the Domestic Tax Department at the NRA took the opportunity to educate members of civil society, CBOs and local council representatives on the role of the National Revenue Authority in Tax Waivers at a tax and accountability training forum organized by the ‘Animated Area Development Committee’ at the ST Martins Conference Hall in Freetown.
The discussion by the NRA Commissioner was centered around the activities of the NRA and what the NRA has done or is planning to do to minimize tax waivers and incentives.
Mr. Sorie dilated that in as much as the NRA has no powers to waive taxes, it has however worked closely with the Ministry of Finance to minimize waivers.
The NRA he said has supported government’s effort in ensuring that agreements with the mining companies and other businesses are re-negotiated so as to ensure that all players in various sectors are given level playing field.
This he noted has been ensured by the strengthening of tax laws through the Finance Act, and especially the 2013 Finance Act which he added has gracefully capped duty waivers to 3% of the GDP in 2014; a feat that has never been achieved before now.
The NRA man informed the gathering that the Ministry of Finance has made rigorous efforts to strengthen the Revenue and Tax Policy Division both in terms of capacity and Resource allocation to ensure that tight controls are in place in the processing of duty waivers consistent with the law.
He further mentioned that the Ministry and the National Revenue Authority have had a lot of successes in reducing tax waivers over the years; citing that duty waivers were dropped from Le589bn in 2012 to Le 453bn in 2013. This he also noted has been as a result of the on-going reforms undertaken by both the Ministry and the Authority in maximizing revenue uptake.
In a bid to foster good working relationship and information sharing, Mr. Ibrahim Sorie at the end of his lectures advised the CBOs, local government representatives and members of civil society to always contact the Ministry of Finance and the National Revenue Authority for clarifications on issues as “we always hold an open policy on information sharing so as to avoid the many misconceptions” around the issue of duty waivers he concluded.