By Augustus Nimley
For nearly two years, the Liberia Revenge Authority (LRA) has been working under a modern tax administration as it is the first institution ever set aside in the country’s history to exclusively collect taxes. The Liberian government through the LRA has reportedly generated an estimated US$569.72m for fiscal year 2015-2016, as the LRA holds Taxpayers Appreciation Day.
Taxpayers Appreciation Day is a day set aside to recognize and appreciate the most compliant taxpayers. The events also intended to foster the culture of voluntary compliance within Liberia and the importance of complying with tax and customs laws as a civil responsibility in order to facilitate domestic revnue mobilization for the national good and for sustainable development.
The colorful, well organized and well attended Taxpayers Appreciation Day was held over the weekend at the Monrovia City Hall under the theme “Creating A culture of Voluntary Tax Compliance”.
The Commissioner General and Chief Executive Officer of the LRA, Elfrieda Stewart Tamba in her introductory remarks emphasized that the appreciation is aimed “to continuously strengthen our education programs nationwide as a necessary ingredient for achieving higher levels of truthful voluntary compliance and as a consequence thereof, the broadening of the tax base and expansion of the tax net. This will undoubtedly increase the revenue pot while reducing the cost to compliance ratio.”
The occasion which marked the 4th anniversary of the LRA is to be observed every July 1st as Taxpayers Appreciation Day. At the appreciation ceremony the LRA corporate social responsibility program and tax advocate office was officially launched.
The taxpayers advocate program is designed for taxpayers who are experiencing problems in dealing with the Liberia Rvenue Authority. The program is to provide services to taxpayers when the LRA fails to meet it committed processing goals.
Lone Star Communications Corporation, the Orange GSM and Monrovia Breweries Inc. were appreciated for being the highest taxpayers for 2015-2016. Ecobank Liberia received the most compliant taxpayer award under the large taxpayers category.
Atlantic Liberia Limited, the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia and Shark’s business center received the most compliant taxpayers awards in the Medium Taxpayers category.
Family Health International, International Medical Corps, and FINN Church Aid Foundation were awarded the most compliant taxpayers honors in the small taxpayers category. Mamadou Diallo Provision Shop received the petty trade most compliant taxpayer award.
The real property highest contributors taxpayers award was received by Madam Elsie N. Cooper (Vacant Land), residential property compliant taxpayer was awarded to David Kortie while the commercial real estate property honor was bestowed on the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) and the industrial property award went to the Liberia Coca Cola Bottling Company.
I n the Custom category, the highest value importer awards were received by TOTAL Liberia Incorporated and Fresh Frozen Food Inc. The most compliant custom brokers award was received by Lemus Cargo. And the highest contributing sector ministry award was captured by the Ministry of Transport.
Taxpayers in rural Liberia were also appreciated. Foya Borma Hospital and the Jupiter Business Center both in Lofa received awards while in Margibi the award was received by the Liberia Airport Authority. In Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, and River Gee Mary’s Meals, Golden Inn Guest House, Construction & Mining Contractors and the El Baraka Business Center respectively received appreciation. Other businesses receiving awards were Jungle Water Group of Companies, Passion Hotel, Stop and Shop Bus Center, Marche Frozen center,H. Nasser Supermarket, Toe Medicine Store and Enimech Business Center in Nimba, Bong, Maryland, Grand Gedeh, Grand Bassa, Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties respectively received awards as highest taxpayer per county.
Earlier in his appreciation statement, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai underscored the importance of the importance of LRA taxpayers Appreciation day “for me this is an eye opener, very worthy experience that we are here to honor those persons who are not just tax compliant but those people who are big taxpayers whose money help to do the things we do around here.”