The Government of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government through the local councils has recently collected taxes, rates and other revenues from the general public, but taxpayers are demanding that, they in turn receive tax returns from authorities to maintain transparency and accountability in the utilization of public funds.
According to a survey conducted by this press which indicates that, payments of taxes and government revenues has increased recently, from the collection of taxes and other revenues by various councils across the country amounting to billions of Leones since the APC Government came to power late last year.
Payment of taxes and other revenues to government by the general public had been very difficult in the past; due to the lack of proper mechanism put in place by previous government to ensure that, they embark on massive sensitization drive to encourage tax payers pay their dues for the smooth running of government administration.
Government is also expected to subsidies councils, with funds from the national budget to complement councils with the meager revenues collected so that, they can embark on the implementation of community project at council level.
A cross section of tax payers interviewed by this press disclose that, this is the first time in the history of Sierra Leone for residents of Freetown to overwhelmingly turn out and willingly pay their taxes, and other revenues to government without being coarse to pay.
One of the tax payers James Kamara noted that “he wants the councils to ensure that community development is their first priority, with special emphasis on the provision of basic facilities, like market centers, garbage site, water wells and toilet facilities including adequate transportation”
Some of the owners of business houses in Freetown and its environs interviewed on the collection of taxes and other revenues to the councils and the National Revenue Authority expressed their determination to continue the payment of taxes and other revenues to government but they are demanding a level playing field for investment and provision of basic necessities.
They however called on the councils to implement the non citizen trade act to deter foreigners from selling retail goods and also whole sale to customers which is responsible for the crumbling of most small businesses in the country.
Authorities of the Freetown city Council are currently busy collecting garbage with trucks and motor cycle dump trucks to reduce the piles of dirt that litter the streets and communities in collaboration with the Local Government Ministry and the Ministry of Energy and power.
The city council is also planning to improve on the provision of pipe born water, construction of drainages and bridges, market centers, and toilets facilities with taxes collected from the public and subsidies received from government, an official of the Freetown city council disclosed to this press.
Taxpayers are appealing to the government and the council to judiciously utilize the monies collected and implement developmental programs that will benefit the people so that it will encourage the public to continue the payment of taxes and other revenues.