The newly appointed commissioner general of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Alieu Sesay, has said before the Parliamentary Appointments Committee that integrity has been a challenge to the commission.
Facing interview yesterday for the post, Alieu Sesay said his integral challenge would be to fight the commission’s integrity.
On how to stop smuggling, he told the committee that Sierra Leone had a neighbouring country for which he would discuss with them and intimate them about the problems of the country for mapping the way forward .
He also said the Customs department had preventive services unit for which it could be strengthened to ensure all goods that come into the country pay tax and at the same time create incentive for tax payers “like in other countries those who comply with tax obligations do get tax reduction or their tax liabilities are reduced”.
Mr Sesay said when he moved into NRA, the first thing he would do would be to look at the human resource inventory to identify the existing scale gap and then right size the institution.
“Once we have individuals with the right capacity and qualifications and experience then we can develop our team and with that we can work towards maximizing our domestic revenue,” he said.
He said to his critics that his training in the universities had adequately prepared him for the job. At the national tax college at Japan and the Japanese ministry of finance where he studied tax law, policy and tax administration gives him the opportunity to see how tax systems work in developed countries coupled with his six months at the world customs organization studying customs law, tariff law and administration had “prepared me not only for the theory for customs management but also the practice of customs management”.
He further explained that when he returned to the country he was the director of revenue and tax policy whose principal responsibility was “to monitor the NRA and at the same time fill in the gap because in taxation there are three essential elements, you have the tax policy, law and administration. If the laws are well established but the policies are not clearly defined, you will have problems with administration and if the tax policies are well designed the laws well practiced, but there is a gap in tax administration you will not get the desired results,” he explained. He explained that he had done the first two parts while he was at the ministry of finance. “It is like completing the cycle but it is said in real sense that tax policy is tax administration in developing countries and I have got the experience in tax policy and tax law and I am sure by proxy it also means tax administration.”