LRA Seeks To Boost Revenue Collection
-Focuses On Modern Customs Operation
The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has reaffirmed its commitment to modernize customs related activities for revenue purposes.
Over the weekend, the LRA joined other countries around World to celebrate, InternationalCustoms Day in Ganta, Nimba County, the first ever to be hosted outside Monrovia.
The celebration held under the global theme “Smart Borders for SeamlessTrade, Travel and Transport”, was in commemoration of the 67th Anniversary ofInternational Customs Day.The ‘SMART’ as used in this year’s theme represents Customs ensuring Secured,
Measurable, Automated, Risk Management-based and Technology-driven processes incompliance, enforcement and facilitation efforts.
LRA Commissioner General, Thomas Doe Nah lauded customs officersfor their level of performance in helping to collect the needed revenue. CG Nahencouraged customs officers to work with diligence in ensuring a proactive standard tocollect lawful revenues and cautioned them to desist from unlawful acts in the discharge of theirduties, noting that such behavior will not be tolerated during his regime.
“We all have a responsibility to be ethical not only with our mouths, but with ouractions, so let the message be made clear today that we do not practice corruption inany form or shape, and if anyone thinks that LRA or customs is a place to enrich himself or herself during my tenure, than you are not my friend,” he warned.
CG Nah further called for collaboration with other agencies of government, includingpartners for smooth customs operations, revenue collection and border security. The LRAcommissioner General warned against acts of smuggling and trafficking of harmfulproducts and items in the country.
He encouraged staff to learn new skills in a bid to fully prepare themselves toadjust to the new trend of customs transformation.
For his part, the keynote speaker at this year’s celebration of International Customs Day,Ivan Tumbay, President of the National Customs Brokers Association of Liberia, called for acollaborative effort involving all customs stakeholders for the advancement of customsoperations in Liberia.
He challenged customs brokers to be more transparent and accountable in their dealingsin helping the government increase its revenue collection.
Mr. Tumbay warned customs brokers to desist from acts that have the ability toundermine government’s revenue collection process.
“If you are a good broker, continue to be, but if you are a bad one, you must change nowor leave the system because, we are preparedto join the LRA to weed you out.”
According to Mr. Tumbay, the role of customs brokers in enhancing trade facilitation is vital and as such, mustbe done in line with their requisite responsibilities in accordance with the Revenue Codeof Liberia.
Meanwhile, LRA Customs Commissioner,SaaSaamoi disclosed that the Authority is wellon course with its modernization plans with the aim to ensure a holistic transformation ofcustoms operations and effective measures to promote trade facilitation and bordersecurity.
He announced that the LRA has embarked on programs leading to ensuring a full skillautomation and integration of all land and sea borders, including rural ports to thepaperless platform and at the same time interfacing with all commercial banks in Liberiafor the single payment of fees and taxes.
Commissioner Saamoi also indicated that plans are underway to introducesimplified electronic declaration procedures for international passengers and small skillsinformal traders in Liberia to boost trade activities.
The LRA in collaboration with the ministries of Finance and Development Planning(MFDP), Commerce and Industry (MoC) are formulating plans to transition from preshipment inspection (PSI) to designation inspection (DI) using state of the art cargoinspection facilities, including nonintrusive technology, Commissioner Saamoi disclosed.
Over the year, the LRA has worked towards simplifying and modernizing customsprocedures, including the establishment of a Centralized Assessment Unit which hasprovided a platform for a paperless environment.
This year’s celebration brought together customs officers of the Liberia RevenueAuthority, Liberia Immigration Service, the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency, the LiberiaNational Police, including a team from the Guinean customs, among others.