The acting Minority Leader in Parliament, Honourable Sidi Tunis, on Tuesday 10 September 2017, during the debate on the Revenue and Administration Act 2017 disclosed the country still lags behind in revenue generation.
MP Tunis stated that the Revenue and Administration Act 2017 is vital towards the development of the country’s revenue base but that he will not support it speedy ratification without proper debate and input by Members of Parliament.
He maintained, “this Bill is about the consolidation of so many other laws putting it in one pot. Some of these laws go as way back as 1972,” he said, citing the Payroll Tax 1972, Excise Act 1982.”
According to him these are some of the old Bills and some have gone through amendments and they do not know what is happening in the jurisdiction, “how can we just pass this Bill into Law in a hurry”.
MP Tunis called on other MP’s to go home and read the Bill properly so that when they get to the Committee stage they will make meaningful contributions.
He said the Bill is about reconciling different revenue loss. Parliament has ratified so many laws that will help the National Revenue Authority (NRA) to generate more revenue “but we still lag behind in revenue generation”.
He continued, “The 10% rent tax is one area that is not effective. How many people are paying rent tax? What is NRA actually doing about collecting rent tax?”
He maintained with all the laws being provided for NRA they are not seeing much of NRA commitments in generating revenue for government operations, adding they are having sittings in Parliament on a daily basis due to the fact that they have problems with their revenue generation.
“The intention of the Bill is not merely amending all those many laws but merely to consolidate and bring them under one law,” according to the Majority Leader, Hon Leonard Fofanah. He disclosed taxpayers are finding it difficult to meet with NRA tax system because of the proliferation of all these laws. He maintained the Finance Ministry thought it fit to solve such problem by consolidating all these law into one simple law. Speaking about the rent tax, MP Fofanah said there is specific tax regime that is very difficult to implement simply because landlords don’t want to pay this particular tax.
“A lot of tenants want to pay direct like the laws say, but immediately they raise those issues a quit notice will be issued by the landlords,” he said. Most landlords will claim they will pay the tax to government and not the tenants who should do it. The Acting Speaker, Hon. Chernor Bah, maintained he is compelled to adjourn the sitting so that MP’s can read the Bill and contribute to the debate.
By Alhaji M. Kamara
Wednesday October 11, 2017.