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NRA Board Chairman Bemoans Revenue Mobilization Challenges PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)   
Saturday, 27 May 2017 08:42

Although Sierra Leone has shown encouraging trends in revenue mobilization growth in recent years, enormous challenges still remain. Board Chairman of the country’s tax administration authority, Alpha Muctar Jalloh, notes that these challenges are mainly macroeconomic and administrative.

“It is a priority for the Government to strengthen tax administration, block leakages and inefficiencies which may exist in tax collection. These challenges are mainly macroeconomic and administrative,” said Jalloh recently at a conference on Domestic Revenue Mobilisation organised by the Center for Policy Studies, University of Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), at the British Council in Freetown.

Under macroeconomic challenges, Jalloh mentioned the decline in commodity prices particularly in the Iron Ore sector and high rates of tax evasion and avoidance; the deteriorating exchange rate and its ramifications on importation; and the slow economic recovery and prolonged austerity measures.

Sierra Leone has a narrow tax base which reduces revenue potential and increases the country’s dependence on taxes from a small section of society. The formalisation of the highly growing informal sector remains a daunting challenge for taxation.

Prior to the twin economic shocks of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak and international commodity price collapse, Sierra Leone was well on the road to economic boom. In 2013 domestic revenue funded about 77% of the government budget. Whilst the country is trying to recover from these shocks, the effect on revenue mobilisation remains evident. Last year, 2016, domestic revenue funding dropped to 55%, with the rest met by borrowing and donor funds.

In the policy area, Jalloh highlighted the topical challenges of proliferation of tax exemptions and the looming national elections. In addition, socio-political response to tax policy proposals, he said, is causing delays in implementation of tax policies.

Furthermore, he talked about a host of administrative challenges hindering the efficiency of the National Revenue Authourity (NRA) including auditing of specialised sectors; assessing the effectiveness of tax incentives; difficulties in the procedures and criteria for tax rulings and tax decisions; difficulties in identifying physical location of business entities; continued retention of revenue by MDAs; compromising staff and taxpayers; lack of fully automated and integrated tax systems and the cultural problem of corruption.

However, Jalloh said the opportunities for the NRA and for the country to enhance its domestic revenue mobilisation to provide for its citizenry going into the future are immense and achievable within the short, medium and long term goals set by the NRA.

“The NRA has clear, measurable targets for improving domestic revenue mobilisation which are in line with international best practices,” said Jalloh.  “Whilst the challenges should not be underestimated, we have seen from our peers in the ECOWAS and the broader Africa region that progress is possible. Through proposed reforms we believe the NRA can move this country towards a more self-dependent situation, reducing reliance on donors support and indebtedness.”

In 2016, the NRA collected Le 2.799 trillion, which is roughly 12.2% of GDP. The NRA target for 2017 is set at Le3.64 trillion, which implies a 30% increase on the previous year’s collection. The ultimate goal, said Jalloh, is to reach the ECOWAS target of 16.9% tax-to-GDP ratio by 2021.

Sierra Leone has undertaken some significant transformation of its tax system in recent years, with the implementation of new policies and reforms that have produced substantial and consistent increases in revenue collection. Jalloh said this transformation is an ongoing process through which the NRA seeks to continue evolving and improving within the economic climate.

In a bid to meet the much needed revenue to address the government’s fiscal space, the NRA, according to Jalloh, is currently embarking on reforms, including the establishment of a centralised debt management and compliance unit; improve Customs valuation by updating the Price Reference Database with original price data from Cargo Tracking Company; fully operationalise the newly constructed Mobile Scanning System, a non-intrusive technology for import examination; continue to work with the Revenue for Prosperity (R4P) under the DFID funded programme with NRA to modernise revenue administration; and design a new tax administration improvement programme through the IMF’s RMTF Technical Assistance programme.

Proposed Tax Policy measures for 2017 include the imposition of excise on tobacco imports and increase in the import duty rate for same- from 10% to 20%; consolidation of domestic revenue, allowing revenue retaining MDAs to remit their collection into the Consolidated Revenue Fund; restriction of duty waivers by ensuring incentives are granted transparently through existing legislations; legislate a royalty charge of 0.5% on turnover for the telecoms service providers; impose 20% excise on gambling and betting tickets sales; review license fees for alluvial and small scale mining and fisheries operators; and roll out specific excise duty policy to all alcoholic imports.

“These proposed reforms are aimed at leading the NRA in the direction of increased revenue mobilisation,” said Jalloh.




26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.


Business News

Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone

John D. Okrafo-Smart, Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone and gives his insight into the banking landscape.

Excerpts shared by Sheriff Mahmud Ismail

The Government of Sierra Leone is placing great priority in improving the business climate, enhancing infrastructure and support to private sector development. In line with the government focus, the Central Bank is targeting price stability in support of economic recovery, enhancing monetary policy instruments and liquidity management and also limiting intervention in the foreign exchange market, which will be important to preserve foreign exchange reserves.

The above measures will help in the strengthening of the banking system to support financial intermediation. Commercial banks are thus poised to benefit and take advantage of the improved economic and business environment by offering better services to their customers, including loans and overdrafts and forex to import, thereby creating wealth and boosting government revenue.


Media News

Two veteran Journalists, now in the United States have paid a courtesy call on Sierra Leone's Ambassador

Two very respected and veteran Journalists who are in the United States of America for various reasons have called on Sierra Leone’s Amr. Bockari Kortu Stevens not only to appreciate the work of the Embassy, but also to pay courtesy as protocol demands.

Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson, former Lecturer Fourah Bay College, former Director of Information Ministry of Information and Communications, Former Director Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA), Former Chairman Independent Media Commission (IMC) and stringer French News Agency  etc. is on vacation and Mr. Cyril Juxon Smith Director Information and Communications House of Parliament, former Acting Director General Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) and former UNESCO Media Consultant  is in the United States of America to attend the funeral of his father.

Speaking at the Ambassador’s residence on 4821 Colorado Avenue, Washington DC  Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson said “Thank  you Amr. Stevens for accommodating us in the middle of your tight schedule, and also to discuss with us in a homely spirit.



Dr. Tam Baryoh’s Only Crime!

Boris Johnson as a Journalist worked at The Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers. He edited The Spectator newspaper between 1999 and 2006. He was Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008 and was also Mayor of London. He is a member of the Conservative Party and the current UK Foreign Secretary.

Nnamdi Azikiwe was to serve as the first president of independent Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. He opened and edited a number of newspapers in Ghana and Nigeria and later became an active politician. Obafemi Awolowo was a great Nigerian politician. He also was an active journalist and edited The Nigerian Worker, amongst other publications.

There is a clear link between politics and journalism though, there seems to be a very thin boundary, or perhaps, “a reflective door in the firewall, such that with time, politicians and journalists cross the line changing roles and moving from side to side,” argues Aminat Afolabi in a piece, titled ‘Politics and Journalism, the Interwoven Relationship between Them.”


View Point

How and Why I endorse Julius Maada Bio for President?

I have

I have endorsed Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio for the SLPP presidential ticket in the March 7 2018 elections because I strongly believe in his project and ability to succeed as our next president if given the opportunity.  Perhaps I need to provide  some context as to how, when and why I took this decision.

Maada Bio is the second presidential candidate I have ever endorsed in Sierra Leone. The first was late president TejanKabbah during the campaigns in the 1996 general elections, which he won. I was then publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Expo Times, which won the best-selling newspaper award from the National Vendors Association that year. At the time, my newspaper was the largest circulation and most widely read newspaper in the country and my nearest competitors were For Di People and Concord Times. When the presidential election campaigns became heated and the battle lines were clearly drawn with the three front-runners, TejanKabbah of the SLPP, Karefa-Smart of the UNPP, and Thaimu Bangura of PDP (SORBEH), For Di People declared for and endorsed Karefa-Smart and the UNPP while Concord Times declared for and endorsed Thaimu Bangura and the PDP. Dr Prince Harding and Banda-Thomas then approached me to endorse and help TejanKabbah of the SLPP, who was then the clear frontrunner according to Opinion polls, to win the elections. 


News - Press Release

CrPcEPd Life-saving jingle hits the airwaves

Freetown- 9 October 2017 – A new jingle that forewarns Sierra Leonean about the dangers of residing in disaster-prone communities will be released on 10 October 2017.

The 1:30-second radio jingle, aired twice daily for 70 days will be aired on seven major radio stations across the country.

The radio announcement is in Krio, the country’s Lingua Franca, and Mende, Themne and Kono- the widely spoken languages in Sierra Leone.

When radio-lovers tune in on Tuesday morning and evening for the next 70 days they will be informed about the changes in the weather.


Society -Local News


'A nation cannot progress when its citizens allow bribery to prevail over their sense of patriotism', says Simeon D. Sam Crop Officer, Tonkolili Agriculture Office. He made this statement at an awareness raising engagement organized by the Northern Region Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Wednesday 4th October 2017.  

Addressing staff of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) at their Post Office Road Office in Magburaka, ACC Public Education Officer Abdulai Saccoh said, the Pay No Bribe (PNB) campaign is a sustained approach which gives opportunity to ministries, departments and agencies to deal with bribery issues from within their institutions.

Mr. Saccoh stated that the PNB has enabled citizens to interact with the reporting platform, report incidents of bribery using the PNB channels. Saccoh noted that though Tonkolili is not a PNB district, citizens in that part of the country should be aware of the campaign and could use the platform equally.



  1. In recent years many UN member States have begun urging a change of the Security Council more so by demands of African states led by Sierra Leone.
  2. The main argument for reform is that change is necessary to make the Security Council more reflective of today’s International realities.
  3. Since the Council was created in 1945 more than a hundred and ninety two nations have come into existence and former defeated states in the last World War such as Germany, Japan and Italy have rejoined the World Community. While many developing states have become economic and trade dynamos yet the Security Council still operates on the same basic principles and with the same P5 (permanent Five) UK, USA, CHINA, FRANCE and USSR.


Sierra Leone has consistently and with farvour put the case for Africa at every fora upto some weeks ago in New York but it is difficult to assess the response of the UN or the P 5 respectively.



PRESIDENT KOROMA SAYS… “I am very proud of Ansumana Usman Koroma”

President Dr Ernest BaiKoroma has informed Sierra Leoneans that, “I am very proud that we have people like Ansumana. We need many more Ansumana Usman Koromas that will go out there as Ambassadors of our country, showing and telling a good story about Sierra Leone.”

Whilst speaking at his Presidential office in Freetown, President Koroma affirmed that, “I am very proud of Ansumana and I am encouraging him to do more by helping his people.”

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