Visionary Leadership: The Success Story Of  Thomas Doe Nah At Liberia Revenue Authority – A Profile

LRA Commissioner General, Thomas Doe Nah

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) established in 2013 is in charge of administering and enforcing the revenue laws for the sole purpose of assessing, collecting, auditing and accounting for all national revenues and to facilitate legitimate international trade and customs border management-enforcement.

Its Commissioner General is Mr. Thomas Doe Nah an experienced civil society actor and financial sector professional who was appointed 2018 during the first term of the CDC-led Government of President George Manneh Weah as Commissioner General of the LRA has greatly impacted the rapid growth of the country’s revenue collection since his ascendancy.

According to sources closed to the country’s tax collection reservoir, the Liberia Revenue Authority under the leadership of Thomas Doe Nah has vowed to move the country’s revenue to a billion dollars, surpassing 2021 revenue generation by 70.5 million, making the entity to be at its best, professionally collecting rightful revenue.

In one of his interviews with the Liberian media a year ago, Mr. Doe-Nah bragged, “So far, we have reached 50.2 percent of revenue target as of June 30. The LRA under my leadership is pushed harder to increase revenue collection to beat the 2021 record of more than US$579 million,” the LRA boss told reporters in Monrovia.

In order to encourage taxpayers in meeting their obligation of paying their rightful taxes, the Doe-Nah Administration methodology of appreciating and honoring tax complaints and outstanding taxpayers in the country; recognizing for their firm commitment to tax payment and valuable contributions to the country’s revenue envelope covering the fiscal period.

LRA COMMISSIONER GENERAL DESIGNATE – THOMAS DOE NAH

His appointment by the Liberian leader was highly welcomed by the Liberian people, the country partners including the international community coming from the backdrop for improved governance systems in post-conflict Liberia. He has over twenty-five years of experience in banking, non-governmental sector management and is an avid promoter of technology as a means of getting things done prior to his appointment at the LRA.

Mr. Nah has been a promoter of good governance and access to information in public service through his work as Program Lead at the Carter Center, and Executive Director of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), which he co-founded and is now the National Chapter of Transparency International (TI).

He has worked in the Economic and Commercial Section at the United States Embassy in Monrovia and in that role contributed to the resuscitation of economic governance structures and institutions in post-war Liberia. He was actively involved with the impactive work of the multi-partner governance initiative – Governance Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP) and the establishment of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI), which emphasized the necessity of a transparent and accountable regime in natural resource exploitation.

LRA Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah

He has been a leader in the commercial banking sector, serving in various capacities at the International Bank Liberia Limited (IBLL) and the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI).

As Commissioner General of the LRA, he plans to pursue initiatives that would make the LRA people-centered with enhanced transparency, integrity, and professionalism in the collection of lawful revenues. With an attitude geared towards customer service delivery and staff capacity building, he wants to continue the LRA on the path of modernization by promoting innovative solutions. This thrust would achieve the level of revenue sufficiency that would allow for sustained socio-economic development in meeting the Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity.

Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah speaking during the launch of the LRA foundation

Information gathered by the GNN noted that when Doe-Nah took over the LRA, the country faced serious economic shocks at the time; inflation was rising, tax revenue dropped tremendously and public (business community) trust in the LRA was at a declining rate, and as a result, civil servants went without their salaries for months, many government offices were couldn’t afford basic goods and services to allow them function properly. The Government could not just raise the required revenue to cater to its needs.

Accordingly, today, the story is different, as reported by the President in his recent SONA, the Country has recorded its highest Domestic Revenue since its foundation. Thomas has taken the country’s domestic revenue envelope from a little over 400m to almost 700m. not only that the revenue continues to increase, the business climate has also improved, the turnaround time at the LRA has progressed, the quality of customer serve is on the rise and the quality of staff is at an incremental speed.

LRA Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah

“This did not happen from the blue sky or by magic but from the intuition and innovation of a true and Harvard-trained leader, Thomas Doe Nah. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when economies around the world were crumbling, Thomas and the LRA collected the country’s highest domestic revenue. Revenue was increasing in Liberia while decreasing in other economies better than Liberia”, a source at the LRA in a chat with the GNN lauding the leadership of Doe Nah, said.

Outlining the success story of the LRA Commissioner General, Mr. Thomas Doe Nat, another source who claimed to be an employee at the LRA and who could not withhold his feelings about the transformation being made by the Thomas Doe Nah administration said, “You may wonder how did this happen; here is it: In domestic tax;  Thomas being person with high-tech background opted to automate most of the LRA processes thus making payment of taxes easier, he introduced e-tax clearance wherein one do not have to see anyone at the LRA to get tax clearance. Once all of your taxes are paid, application is done online and tax clearance certificate is issued seamlessly. This reduced the turn-around time to acquire tax clearance from about 2-3 months to about 2-3 days.

“He built on and improved electronic filing and payment processes. Large and medium businesses can now file their returns online, get an assessment and make payment of their taxes from any part of the world, electronic receipt-once payment is done, an e-receipt can be sent to the tax payer directly without interaction with any staff at the LRA. The system is also structured to allow for verification of receipt; As a means to instill trust in the public and build staff confidence level, he introduced the “findofficerapp” which allows businesses and individuals to report fraudulent acts of staff but to also commend those who perform excellently, he also introduced the electronic fiscal device which allows for the LRA to track vendors’ sales in real time and properly account for GST. Since this intervention, GST has increased by more than 50%”, another employee in a chat with our staff said.

Speaking further, the employee continued, “He introduced a compliance clustering system for real estate resulting in the increment of tax paying properties from as low as 112 properties by 2018 to about 50,000 to date;           He introduced the excise stamps to be applied on all excisable products including alcohol and tobacco products. This has not only curtailed smuggling of these products but also increased revenue both on the domestic tax and customs sides. In customs, the CG has trained and graduated more than 200 customs officers who are now full paramilitary officers, he  introduced the simplified declaration system at the land ports making them semi-digital”, noting that last fiscal year, customs reached its highest revenue collection of 205m. Strengthened anti-smuggling and has intercepted items illegally brought in the country including drugs, contrabands, and other items, and also introduced electronic payments in customs allowing consignees to make payment for their goods even after the bank.

Mr. Nah is a graduate of the University of Liberia, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Accounting and Economics and holds a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is married with three children.

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