Sierra leone’s new govt chases record revenue collection

Julius Maada Bio, Sierra Leone's President. Photo : Reuters/Olivia Acland

Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – Sierra Leone’s newly-elected President Julius Maada Bio has said the record 400 billion leones revenue harvested in September 2018 alone, was just a sample performance of the dynamic fundraising machine his government has set in motion to boost the battered economy inherited by his administration.

President Bio argued that the preliminary record performance was just a tip of the iceberg of the capacity of the new fundraising dynamic that will hit the 20 percent mark up from 10 percent pledged by his government by 2023.

Mr. Bio made the statement in Freetown this week following the publication of the record figure by the National Revenue Authority (NRA).

Earlier, the youthful leader had expressed regrets before lawmakers during the state opening of the 5th Parliament of the 5th Republic of Sierra Leone, that Sierra Leone’s domestic revenue was down to 11.5 percent of GDP – a near rock bottom in the World.

The ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) government in its New Direction Strategy paper, pledged to increase the domestic revenue GDP ratio from about 10% to 20% in order to catch up with international standards.

This means, the NRA will need to harvest 1.2 percent of GDP annually to attain the 20 percent mark by 2023 when Mr. Bio will be ending its first presidential mandate.

In reaction, Budget Advocacy Network, which is the local financial transparency campaign group and Action Aid Sierra Leone jointly described Bio’s government’s commitment as “very vital for the delivering of essential social services”.

Both outfits expressed optimism the present momentum in revenue collection would go a long way in buttressing the Free Quality Education and Free Health care promulgated by the Bio administration.

Ministry of Finance sources said average daily domestic revenue collection rose from 16.27 billion leones in March to 20.24 billion leone in September 2018.

Income tax increased from 124.67 billion leones in March when the Bio administration came to power, to 170.41 billion leones in September 2018, while revenue collected from customs and excise increased by more than two-fold from March to September 2018, the sources said.

The figures far exceed those obtained by the previous government at any period during its ten years of rule, local analysts told ADV.

© Bur-csa – A.H – N.A / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_eng