The minister of tourism and cultural affairs, Hindolo Sumanguru Trye, has described himself as positively arrogant to stakeholders who do not pay taxes.
At a familiarization meeting with hotel operators, restaurants owners, airline operators and casino owners over the weekend at the Cape Sierra Hotel, he called on them not to use the bad business excuse for not paying their taxes.
Mr Tryre explained to them that the tourism industry had been through quite a lot of trials for which much needed to be done.
He said he had observed lots of disappointments which had made the ministry not living up to expectations. “This is due to our collective efforts and we as a ministry should take full responsibility for such disappointments.”
He emphasized that corruption had been encouraged and nurtured within the ministry where stakeholders bypass officials to see the minister. That attitude, he stressed, should not be encouraged.
Mr Tryre reminded them of President Koroma’s zero tolerance on corruption which he intended implementing as a way of reviving the ministry.
He told them that, “we as a government will provide the enabling environment for you for which you should abide but if you think the atmosphere is not conducive you can leave as there are lots of Sierra Leoneans who want to invest.”
The minister however appealed to accommodation providers for an improvement in the quality and standard of hotels, guest houses so as to make Sierra Leone an attractive tourists’ destination.
A hotel operator, Umar Jalloh of Hill Valley, raised concerns about the unavailability of power supply, difficulty in securing loans as one factor responsible for the delay in paying taxes.
He called on the minister not to be hurt but to exercise patience and forget about the past.