The Director of Revenue and Tax Policy at the Ministry of Finance, Idrissa Kanu has reacted to claims that the National Revenue Authority (NRA) should not be blamed for government losing the European Union (EU) €2 million Budgetary Support. Kanu was reacting to Mary Jalloh’s statement Tuesday 1st October, 2019 that they received the report from the assessor of the EU Budget Support Program which shows that due to basic delays in providing data by the NRA and submission of data to the Ministry of Finance “we have lost two million euros.” Jalloh who is the Assistant Director, Macro Fiscal Division at the Finance Ministry added that the data and analysis were not provided in time “so therefore they could not be attached to the 2019 Budget that was submitted to Parliament. As much as you are collecting revenue you are causing us to lose revenue” she said whilst reacting to the Authority’s 2020 Budget presentation at the Miatta Conference Centre on Tuesday 1st October, 2019. Kanu recalled that both he and Phillip were not attending meetings because according to him they were frustrated. “I just want to emphasise that NRA should continue to raise more revenue for the country than we depending on these donors. At times we are being humiliated” he said.
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He criticized the process saying that with the EU Budget Support, the goal post has been pushed several times and that few days ago he expressed that frustration in Bangura’s office at the Ministry. “So please NRA let’s collect the revenue and don’t depend on what donors give to us. I don’t blame you for whatever happens to that trigger because I believe that EU never wanted to give that money. If they had wanted to, they wouldn’t have changed some of the goal post several times during the course of our engagement” he said. Sheka Kamara, Assistant Director at the NRA’s Monitoring, Research and Planning (MRP) department also explained that the concern expressed by Mary has actually been contested by a member of the Ministry of Finance. “We are not fighting against donor funding. I am also part of the EU team, for last year all the documents they asked from the NRA were submitted and all the conditions they gave we met them. For this year the one they are asking for we have already started fulfilling them even though the time is not yet expired to submit them but we are far away in meeting them now. So we play no role in depriving the state of any fund. If there is any reason the EU failed to give fund it is not as a result of the NRA perhaps it is something else we don’t know” said Kamara.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
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