2 July 2014

Liberia: LRA Goes Autonomous

At long last, the revenue department within the Ministry of Finance has left the 10- storey ministry on Broad Street to become autonomous. The Liberia Revenue Authority Formation Office (LRAFO) was set up in March 2012 by the Government for the establishment of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).

It is headed by Mrs. Elfreda Stewart Tamba as National Coordinator. Mrs. Tamba was appointed by President Sirleaf and ably assisted by consultants and other key technical staff seconded by the Ministry of Finance.

Speaking at program marking the official launch of the LRA as an autonomous agency, Liberia's Finance Minister Amara Konneh, pledged the Ministry's support to the agency.

Cone said the Finance Ministry remains open to ideas from the LRA as it relates to revenue collection. He, however called on state actors to continue to support the LRA in its drive. The Minister disclosed that it has been President Sirleaf's dream to make the revenue department independent since her ascendency.

"This task for which we are here today is a task that started from the day the President took over leadership in this country," Konneh said.

He, however called on employees to read the law that governs the LRA so they all can be in the know how the LRA operates. He said the government remains committed to listening and considering the concerns of employees in government. "We will make sure that the concerns of our workers are considered," he stated.

For her part, the National Coordinator of the LRA Mrs. Elfreda Stewart Tamba said the agency needs the support of the Finance Ministry in it strives or operations. Mrs. Tamba promised to continue working with Minister Konneh and his team at the Finance Ministry for the smooth operation of government functions.

Also speaking at the program, outgoing Deputy Finance Minister for Revenue, Dr. James Kollie, thanked President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for affording him the time to work in government.

Dr. Kollie also apologized to employees of the Finance Ministry, who he may have wronged while on the job, saying, "If I ever wronged anybody while on the job, I am sorry; we may have had professional differences on the job and our differences may have brought some mixed feelings about me; I say sorry also."

He, however cautioned employees to do their best for the country whenever given a particular task to perform. The enabling legislation establishing the Liberia Revenue Authority was passed by the National Legislature in September 2013 and submitted to the President for signing into Law.

The LRA legislation, among other things, prescribes the structure of the LRA which shall have a Board, one Commissioner General, two Deputy Commissioners General and five critical departments. It also prescribes procedures for treatment/transfer of current Department of Revenue staff to the LRA.

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