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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.




2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul


The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.


Business News


The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on the request of the Management of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) on Thursday 20th July, 2017 commenced anti- bribery and anti-corruption training with staff of the Bank.

The training which was held in the Bank's Conference Room 9th Floor, Christian Smith Building 29/31 Siaka Stevens Street, Freetown attracted over twenty members of the Executive Management.

Addressing colleagues, the Managing Director, SLCB, Idrissa Aloma Kamara disclosed that the Bank has integrated into the Bank's operations anti-corruption measures, such as the development of anti-corruption policy, anti-graft messages inscribed on Bank Statements and sensitization of staff on the dangers of corruption. With all these, the MD stated, it is the view of the Bank that the ACC which is the statutory body responsible for the campaign against corruption be brought in, to provide awareness training on anti-bribery issues for an efficient and effective banking system.


Media News

Freedom of Expression Violations Rise Sharply in West Africa

The incidents of freedom of expression rights violations in West Africa more than tripled in the first quarter (January-March) of 2017.

Over the three-month period, a total of 47 violations were recorded as against 14 violations for the last quarter (October-December) of 2016. The violations recorded in the quarter under review range from arrests and detentions to physical attacks, online violations, shutdown of media houses, censorship, seizure and destruction of property and killings. The 47 violations occurred in 10 out of the 16 countries in West Africa.

These findings are contained in the latest edition of the West Africa Freedom of Expression Monitor, a quarterly report by the MFWA which analyses and highlights freedom of expression developments in the sub-region.





 Your Excellency Sir,
 It’s been six months since I subscribed to my usual publications of this piece. And this is primarily because I have been out of the country for the entire period, and as such would not normally objectively tender a subscription. I do apologize to my readers for this. So having being in Monrovia, Liberia for the recently concluded ECOWAS Summit, I would like to do some analysis on such a historic august body and gathering of this sub-Saharan/West African region.
In resume, among other crucial achievements, ECOWAS, through its military apparatus, ECOMOG, played very sacrificial and invaluable roles in bringing peace, security and democratic governance to both Sierra Leone and Liberia during their past civil wars, and most recently ensuring that the Gambian people’s democratic change of government from the notorious dictatorial twenty seven years regime of Yaya Jarmeh, to the current government of President Adama Barrow, through their tactical robust intervention, overseen by President Helen JohnsonSirleaf of Liberia and other ECOWAS Presidents/actors, was enforced. Furthermore, ECOWAS has also spearheaded the enactment of several socio-political, advocacy and economic treaties in the sub region.

View Point


Honestly speaking Sierra Leoneans are well known for their hospitality all over the world, especially in Africa. But ironically many of them hate each other. But they love foreigners. They have high respect for strangers. But unfortunately they do not have respect among themselves. You can attest this to what is happening in the social media. Where they are showing their pull him down (PhD) syndrome. By castigating their compatriots unnecessarily. Some of them just because of jealousy and envious evil spirit they possess. They prefer to promote foreigners than their own brothers and sisters both in and out of the country.

Day in day out they are insulting each other.They are using all sorts of vulgar languages against each other. And even their own highly respected president in the world, President Ernest Bai Koroma they are insulting him openly. Therefore, it is an open secret that many Sierra Leoneans are not well cultured.


News - Press Release


"Bribery and petty corruption undermines the Rule of Law, Effective service delivery and sustainable development," says the Regional Manager, ACC South, Samuel Marah on 28th June 2017 at the Njala University Kowama campus Bo, whilst addressing students and lecturers of the Department of Nursing on the need to curb petty corruption and bribery in the educational system in Sierra Leone.

Speaking on the effects of bribery and petty corruption, Samuel Marah noted that, the practice of bribery has overtly affected our justice system, enforcement of the rule of law and quality service delivery to the people of Sierra Leone which he said to tackle needs collective and collaborative effort.        

Mr. Marah said, the Pay No Bribe (PNB) campaign, which is the Commission's flagship project, is a data capturing tool, that shows trends of bribery in  five piloted   MDAs ( Health, Education, SLP , SALWACO and EDSA ) for informed decision making on the trends of bribery and to increase service delivery in the public sector institutions. He stressed  that, PNB reporting platform  is established by the ACC and its partners to empower citizens to anonymously report incidents of bribery and petty corruption by calling 515 free on all networks, visit the PNB website;, or on the mobile application in Krio, Temne and Mende to make their complaints. Mr Marah implored his audience to join the campaign which he said is a national call to service.


Society -Local News

HRCSL presents detention monitoring outcomes to stakeholders
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone(HRCSL) on Wednesday July 26th, 2017 at their headquarters at NEC Building  engaged relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies on the outcome of their monitoring of detention facilities and other social services.
The monitoring was carried out between January and April at the prisons, police cells, remand homes and probation facilities across the country.
The HRCSL Act No.9 of 2004 in section 7 (2)(f) requires the Commission to monitor and document human rights violations in Sierra Leone and section 9(1) gives the Commission powers to authorize persons whom they think are capable to act on their behalf, in order to access all government offices, facilities and places of detention including prisons, police cells, remand homes and probation facilities.


China-Aid Agricultural Technical Cooperation Project hand over Agriculture Materials to the Ministry of Agriculture

On  21st July ,2017 at a handing over ceremony held at Ogoo Farm in Freetown, China-Aid Agricultural Technical Cooperation Project Team handed agricultural materials to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS). 

The items include seed rice, maize, agro chemicals, fertilizer, pesticides and power tillers for farmers within the western area district. Dignitaries present included The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Food security Prof. Monty Jones and his entourage ,  Mr Shen Xiaokai, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, the District agricultural officer, the Chinese technical team, National federation of farmers Sierra Leone representative and lot of farmers in the western Area.



News from China, June 28th: Youth Affairs Minister addresses 2017 Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation in Capacity Development in Beijing, China
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Youth Affairs has said, the 2017 Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation in Capacity Development hosted by the Chinese government should help enhance the ties of friendship and foster the wheels of bilateral cooperation between the two nations and particularly strengthen cooperation in the field of human resource development.
Hon. Bai Mamoud Bangura spoke on Wednesday, 28th June, 2017, at the start of the week long Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation, which has brought together participants from various countries, including eight (8) from Sierra Leone.
According to minister Bangura, in line with the spirit of friendship and cooperation, the event could serve as an opportunity to jointly define new strategic directions in Sierra Leone’s ties with China and in opening up another episode of friendship and cooperation between the two.
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