Sierra Leone: Director Monitoring, Research and Planning, Phillip M. Kargbo has explained that COVID-19 affected revenue collection in 2020 to the extent that whilst they used to collect on average around Le 27 billion a day they ended up collecting less than that particularly in quarter two between April and June 2020.
Talking to journalist in Bo, during the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Annual general Meeting on Friday 4th June, 2021, the Director stated that their revenue forecast declined significantly from their Le 6.4 trillion in 2020.
“We couldn’t meet our target because of COVID-19. Looking at the international scene it was difficult to see the level of import such as customs duties, even ships that were destined for here most of them were constrained on how to move, as a small economy it is very difficult for us to import in large quantity” he said.
He furthered that; it is actually difficult for a whole vessel to come to Sierra Leone just to bring goods. Vessels that should come within a month it takes up to three months or so before it comes due to the lockdowns, and this he stressed affected our imports and volume of transactions.
“Even domestically because of the social restrictions faced as a result of COVID it was difficult to raise revenue on GST. Instead of increasing from the 14.6% of GDP in 2019 (GST) dropped to 13.3%.”
Now in 2021 they are trying to see how they can restore positive trajectory in terms of increasing revenue GDP ratio to ensure they are at par with the region.
For 2021 the Authority have a target of Le 6.416 trillion, so far in the first four months of the year Director Kargbo says they did very well to the extent that they are four percent higher than the target they had set for the first four months.
“Compare these four months with that of 2020, we collected Le 422 billion higher compared to the same period last year which is equivalent to about 33%. To collect revenue is to expand the tax base but to also improve compliance”.
Aside from this progress, in May 2021 they started facing some constraints again, as they saw an increase of COVID-19 in the countries that Sierra Leone does business with such as Turkey, Brazil, India and this affected the level of import.
He noted that “even at that if you compare May 2020 to May 2021 they are 33% higher despite the challengers of not meeting the May target.”
By [email protected]