Finance Minister Amara Konneh has underscored the Government's resolve to establish a Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) to handle revenue collection functions.
"It makes sense," he noted, "to remove the revenue administration function from the Ministry of Finance in the grand scheme of public reform, and especially in the context of the pending rationalization of GoL's planning and economic management functions."
Addressing a roundtable policy dialogue hosted by the Governance Commission last Thursday, Minister Konneh said such an Authority would be designed in keeping with international best practices and, more importantly, in serious consideration of the Liberian context and condition.
While he signaled that the process of operationalizing the LRA would last for up to two years, and must be undertaken with care, he expressed confidence that the institution of a revenue authority would significantly enhance the revenue collection abilities of government.
The Minister cited similar cases on the African continent, where revenue collection sharply increased as a result of the rationalization of revenue collection functions. He gave Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda as examples of such success, stating that Rwanda specifically experienced a significant increase in revenue intake following their transition to a Revenue Authority, allowing them to invest in economic transformation that has sharply reduced poverty for their citizens.
Similarly, the Finance Minister tied the state's revenue collection goals to its national development aspirations, citing the major investments in infrastructure - with energy, roads and technology - youth development, agriculture and capacity building as key targets for the resources raised by the new entity.
He also emphasized the need to ensure that the final act creating the LRA, and the institution itself, "promote a business-friendly tax climate for inclusive economic growth; and jealously keep the Public Financial Management law intact."
The roundtable policy dialogue brought together various officials of the three branches of government, development partners, educators, the private sector and civil society organizations, all of whom have a stake in the establishment of the proposed Liberia Revenue Authority.