Revenue Authority Begins Official Operations
The Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Madam Elfrieda Tamba, has called for full support from the newly combined Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
According to Madam Tamba, the newly merged Ministry is cardinal to building effective tax administration in Liberia.
Commissioner Tamba made the call Tuesday during the official launching into operation of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
The program was held at the MFDP’s head office on Broad Street, in Monrovia.
She said support from the Ministry is needed, because, they are directly in charge of tax policy as well as the divider of the national revenue. The LRA collects needed revenue on behalf of the government and people of Liberia.
Madam Tamba told Minister Amara M. Konneh that her team (LRA) will deliver all necessary revenues to implement the national economic transformation.
“Team LRA, can deliver for you as Minister of Finance, the revenues you need to implement the national economy, but the LRA needs your support to deliver the goods,” she emphasized.
“Again, Minister Konneh, lets us continue working together to strengthen the partnership to improve revenues,” she said.
The LRA Commissioner then called on her staff transitioning into the new agency to prepare themselves for the task of lawfully and legitimately collecting revenues for the benefit of the people of Liberia.
Minister Konneh, in his intervention, said the launching of the LRA was a quest in building a vibrant, dynamic and professional public sector of Liberia.
“This reform has been driven by a thoroughly organized and methodical process pre-dating our administration. We believe, a truly professionalized public sector is the most effective way to deliver quality services to our people, and the value of this exercise would be seen in increased efficiency, better organizational management, and improved service delivery, particularly in the fiscal and development policy direction of the country,” Finance Minister Konneh, who now heads the merged Finance and Planning entity, said.
According to him, the policy idea behind the merger is to bring synergies to the government through the avoidance of duplications and gaps in the functions of both the Ministries of Finance, and Planning and Economic Affairs, thereby resulting in better allocation of human and financial resources and better service delivery.
Minister Konneh, who is the nation’s Chief Financial Officer, was, however, quick to point out that with every transition, there are rough roads and bumpy rides.
He added that as the GoL pursues this painful process of helping to streamline the government through the rollout of the MFDP, and the operationalization of the Liberia Revenue Authority, it remains conscious of its responsibility to treat its employees with respect and dignity.
“We are opened to ideas and have broadened the consultative process from the very inception of this reform,” he pledged.
The Acts creating both entities has provided a one-year window from its adoption to implementation of the law.
Minister Konneh further assured the workforce of both entities that everything would be done in his powers to ensure the concerns and views of the workforce are considered. “We have done over the last few months through direct and indirect engagements, but we must remain focused on the broader objective of working to reform our public sector. We can’t afford to go back. ”
According to him, the Act of 2013 which created the MFDP and LRA required that these two institutions be made operational within 12 months as of the signing of the acts.
He said since the Acts were all signed into Law by the President on September 19 and 23, 2013 respectively, both institutions are to come into effective no later than September 2014.
“However, because of the nature of revenue collections, the Management team decided that it would make sense to ensure that the LRA started on July 1, 2014 since that is the beginning of the budget year. Management decided also that it would make sense, if possible, for the MFPD to also start on said date,” he said.
According to the Minister, the Law is clear that all employees (not only civil servants) of the Department of Revenue will be transferred to the LRA for a period of 12 months during which time they will be required to complete application formalities. “The Law is clear that if these employees apply for a position with the LRA, they shall be granted employment.”
However, in the event that an employee decides not to apply within the 12 months, the Law requires that they return to the Civil Service Agency (CSA) for reassignment.
The MFDP boss said consistent with these provisions of the Law, it has forwarded the names of all employees of the Department of Revenue to LRA through the CSA and added that separate memos have also been served each employees of the Department of Revenue informing them that as of July 1, 2014, they are to report to the LRA for assignment and begin application formalities.
“By the LRA Act, on the date that LRA begins operations, the Department of Revenue will cease to exist. However, few staff of the Department will remain in holder positions for the proposed Department of Fiscal Affairs, which is part of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning,” he explained.
“It is important to note that the Minister of Finance and Development Planning has general supervision and direction of the LRA,” Min. Konneh said.