Even though Alieu Kamara, the National Revenue Authority (NRA)’s boss was boastful at the usual press briefing yesterday at the Ministry of Information of some of his significant achievements in mobilizing huge revenue within a couple of months, it seems he was not too comfortable with the more than 50 porous border crossing points nationwide.
“Political independence is meaningless without fiscal independence that is why we now strengthen the revenue base to overcome our overdependence on donor funds,” said the NRA boss.
He said mobilizing revenue was such a huge task, but noted that with support from DFID they had secured five vehicles to help fasttrack border patrols, including the 50 porous borders.
In the area of institutional arrangement, Mr Kamara disclosed that 15 staff would leave for South Africa on capacity building but did not indicate the criteria used to select them.
He however confirmed that NRA would fund nine staff and DFID 6. “Collecting tax is a very complex venture that requires high standard professional training,” he said.
Responding to questions regarding duty free concession, the NRA boss explained that concessions were given to different category of entities including NGOs. “Who are fully registered with the Ministry of Finance, Development and Economic Planning with an authentic certificate or letter from that Ministry to justify”, said he.
He stated that such NGOs would be granted concessions if they import goods and services relevant to their area of interventions, otherwise, he said, they might not be granted. “Members of foreign missions who might want to clear goods on duty free concession must apply through the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,” adding that some 120 firms which had not been audited for the past five years had now been audited. The General Manager of the Sierra Leone Port Authority, Captain H.A Bloomer, noted that the SLPA contributed 80% of the nation’s revenue as they handle all the cargoes that went in and out of the country. “SLPA handles 350 cargoes per year, including a million tonnage of mineral,” he confirmed, adding that their job was a very technical one that provided capacity building opportunities all over the world.
By Solomon Rogers