Tourism businesses want tax relief
Sierra Leone, Freetown: Tourism businesses have proposed measures to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the sector. While profiling the businesses during the Ministry of Finance survey, an attempt was made to ascertain their responsiveness to various types of taxes collected by the Government.
Regarding the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) tax, only 37 percent of the respondents alluded that they meet their tax obligation, while 61 percent indicated that they pay property tax, with 73 percent confirming that they pay for a business licence to operate.
This is according to the Ministry of Finance, Research and Delivery Division report titled “Impact of COVID-19 on the Tourism Sector in Sierra Leone”, this finding seems to suggest that even though the Government has taken several measures to improve the tax laws and regulations and broaden the tax base in Sierra Leone over the years, there is still a large number of businesses that are non-tax-compliant and operating outside the tax regime.
In addition, the survey revealed that the majority (87.5 percent) of the businesses interviewed want tax relief, whereas 77 percent want the Government to provide them grants and subsidies, and 55.8 suggest that the Government should defer tax payments.
Considering the need to address the liquidity and cash flow constraints of businesses, 58.5 percent advocate for a reduction in the interest rates on loans charged by commercial banks, while 45.8 percent propose that a micro- credit scheme be set up to help ease their challenges emanating from cash unavailability and dwindling capital.
Furthermore, seven out of every ten (70 percent) surveyed businesses suggested that the Government should reduce the cost of tourist visas once the international borders are opened and airlines begin to operate, while 43 percent propose that tourist visa fees should be waived for the next 6 months.
Thirty- six percent recommend that there should be some downward adjustment on the charges levied to access tourist attraction sites to raise the level of activities in the tourism sector and to encourage visitors, both foreign and domestic. ZIJ/11/10/2021
By [email protected]