1 July 2014

Liberia: Gov't Under-Declares Companies' Debt

Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) has released its fifth report for Liberia revealing discrepancy in the amount companies due government.

The report revealed that the amount to be paid by companies to the government for the periods July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 is US$31,588,894.

However, the report said the companies disclosed US$33,030,421 as amount due government.

Interestingly, government agencies in the report revealed that the amount companies due government is US$17,627,411.   This means the government did not declare US$15,403,010 as part of the amount companies owes it.

Launching the report Monday, Deputy Lands, Mines and Energy Minister, Stephen B. Dorbor said US$110,146,657 was received by nine government agencies from the oil, mining, forestry and agriculture sectors for the period under review.

He said payment data supplied by 80 companies during the period under review amounted to US$100,809,819.

Deputy Minister Dorbor also said the government received US$9,336,830 more in revenue than what the companies reported as taxes paid.

The Deputy Minister attributed the net discrepancy to two factors. Firstly, he said government reported receipts for some companies, but those companies as well as artisanal miners and pit sawyers did not submit payment data to the reconcilers.

He further explained that some companies submitted payment data, but the differences could not be reconciled due to lack of adequate information provided to the reconcilers.

Deputy Minister Dorbor said the report also includes payment data of in-kind contributions made by extractive companies to the local communities and public institutions, revenue tracking, among others.

He said the launch of the report will be followed by massive dissemination exercises including extensive outreach throughout the 15 counties of Liberia.

Deputy Minister Dorbor said the Multi-stakeholders Steering Group (MSG) is committed to further reviewing the findings and recommendations of the report with the aim of identifying areas for policy implementation.

Earlier, LEITI Deputy Head of Secretariat, Konah D. Karmo said the publication of the report is one of the core functions of the institution which requires public disclosure of revenue and tax payment data from the extractive sector.

He said this is intended to promote transparent resource management in order for Liberians to benefit from their resources.

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