Govt. to discontinue granting tax deferrals and relief to businesses
Sierra Leone, Freetown: Government is currently taking corrective actions to avoid shortfalls from the targets set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) going forward as the COVID-19 crisis has put exceptional pressure on its fiscal accounts.
To address this situation going forward, they have resumed the implementation of reforms including the roll-out of the electronic cash registers, implementation of automated tax processes through ITAS, and improving customs clearance process through the electronic Single Window. Training of SMEs under the Tax Preparer Scheme is on-going while the Block Registration of Tax-Payers has commenced and is expected to boost property taxation and compliance among SMEs in 2021.
The Minister of Finance said “we have also discontinued the granting of tax deferrals and relief to businesses following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. We did not contract any non-concessional loan during the review period. Our 2021 budget and revised budget includes a substantial adjustment in the domestic primary balance.”
Despite the challenging environment, they made progress in the implementation of structural reforms. The revised National Revenue Authority (NRA) Act has been gazetted and submitted to Parliament for enactment.
Government with technical support from development partners and following wide consultations with key stakeholders developed and published the Arrears Clearance Strategy in 2020.
The two state-owned banks have prepared and submitted to the Ministry of Finance their respective long-term business strategies. Until February 2021, they have adjusted fuel prices in line with the current pricing formula. To cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the population they did not make adjustments until June, but raised the price on July 1st, and will continue making adjustments in line with the formula going forward in order to fully reflect the current Platts price, and in line with the revenue mobilization objective. ZIJ/13/9/2021