The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has held the final in a series of two national validation of the country’s draft Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) Strategy, with stakeholders proposing key recommendations.
In a bid to review and solicit inputs in the draft Strategy, the LRA in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), supported by the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Program-II, held a two-day validation exercise with stakeholders from five counties over the weekend in Gbarnga, Bong County.
Participants of the Gbarnga event were drawn from Bong, Nimba, Margibi, Lofa and Gbarpolu Counties. The first event which took place in Buchanan City three weeks ago brought together over 100 participants from Grand Bassa, Grand Kru, River Gee, Rivercess, Sinoe, Maryland, Grand Gedeh, Bomi, Monterrado and Grand Cape Mount Counties.
Participants include local officials, members of the business community, representatives of the civil society and non-governmental organizations.
The event was intended to gather stakeholders’ inputs about strategic options proffered in the draft DRM strategy. The event was basically aimed at building consensus at the local level on the way forward for domestic resource mobilization for Liberia.
At the Gbarnga DRM Strategy review, the stakeholders recommended vital improvement in Liberia’s trade and industry sector so as to enhance revenue collection and facilitate national development.
They named the agricultural, fishery, tourism, financial, transport, and the telecommunications sectors among others as key areas needed to be prioritized by government in strengthening the country’s economy and holistically advance economic growth.
“Our government needs to lead the effort in empowering local framers by providing them loans, training, and supply of farming implements to enable them increase productivity and become self-reliant,” the participants pointed out.
The stakeholders believe that government must also take the lead role in promoting the diversification of the economic through the formulation of proactive and sustainable programs to stimulate production so as to achieve the quest of increasing the tax net.
They described diversification of the economic as a very important pillar which will bring about more trade and investment opportunities. They specifically mentioned the introduction of mechanized farming and manufacturing, which they said will boost revenue collection and domestic resource mobilization.
The participants also suggested the need for a proper management mechanism of the natural resource sector by government by putting in place vigorous monitoring and evaluation processes to curtail under declaration and illicit financial flow in the sector which undermines revenue collection.
They want the LRA intensify its awareness program with the aim to inform and educate all Liberians and the business sector about the importance of tax payment and its benefits to Liberia.
“In order for the LRA to expand the tax net, more people must be educated about the various taxes, payment processes and other relevant details in enlightening them about civil responsibilities,” they noted in a group recommendation.
In remarks, LRA Senior Technical Advisor on Domestic Resource Mobilization Momodou Foom praised the participants for making vital inputs during the DRM validation exercise and assured them that their recommendations will be complied so as to form part of the final strategy document.
The just ended DRM validation exercise is the result of four regional dialogues, which culminated into a National Revenue Symposium held in June 2017 on domestic resource mobilization, during which a document inclusive of plans and ideas on how to initiate a domestic resource mobilization strategy for Liberia was formulated.
It is a continuation of ongoing efforts by the LRA and partners in support of a global crusade highlighting DRM as pivotal for African countries to finance the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Africa Action Agenda 2063.
It can be recalled that the LRA and partners recently held the first phase of National Domestic Resource Mobilization Strategy validation exercise in Buchanan, Grand Bassa and brought together stakeholders from ten counties.