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Ministry of Finance, NRA Dialogue with the Private Sector on FY2022 Finance Act

The Ministry of Finance together with the National Revenue Authority has on Wednesday 27th October 2021 engaged representatives of the private sector in a consultative dialogue on the 2022 Finance Bill/Act that will be tabled in parliament later this year by the Hon. Minister of Finance.

In his opening remarks, Principal Deputy Financial Secretary Mathew Dingie thank members of the private sector for attending the meeting stating that their presence demonstrates their commitment to the process.

He furthered that the formation of both budget and finance act involves lots of consultations and needs the inputs of all especially the private sector.

Addressing the issues raised by the private sector in the area of taxes and exceptions, Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority, Dr. Samuel Jibao applauds the move by the private sector to document and present their input into the process but also cautions them that the tax rates are competitive and among the lowest in the sub-region.

In his statement, Financial Secretary Sahr Jusu stated that before now finance acts were done behind closed-door with little or no inputs from the private sector.

But say this has changed in the last 2 years as the Ministry of Finance and the National Revenue Authority are now opening the space for more dialogue and discussions with major stakeholders from the formation of the revenue tax policy to the implementation.

He continued that while the government is mindful of the fact that businesses need the right atmosphere and policies to grow, the government on the other hand has the responsibility to raise revenue and provide social services.

The Financial Secretary also stated that the government is not thinking of increasing taxes but rather improving on compliance and automation of the process to increase domestic revenue generation.

Chief Economist Alimamy Bangura stated in his submission stated that taxation is the only sustainable means of government revenue noting that a government can be best assessed by its ability to raise revenue to deliver social services.

He furthered that the objective of the FY2022 finance Act is to generate revenue, create ease of doing business and investment, and stimulate post-COVID-19 growth.

Speaking on the side of the private sector representative, Chukwu-Emeka Chikizie, Team leader Invest Salone thank the Financial Secretary, Staff of the Ministry of Finance, and the National Revenue Authority for such platform, stating that this is the first time they are having such dialogue with government on the formation of tax policies that will affect them.

He continued that they are also mindful of the fact that government needs to raise revenue but also stated that government should put in place policies that will remove barriers and make the business environment and investment conducive.

Alfred Akibo-Bett also from Invest Salone applaud the initiative of the dialogue and also stated that 13 out of the several recommendations they made last year were part of the FY2021 Finance passed by parliament.

The consultative meeting attracts a range of private sector players from Invest Salone, Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Importers, Exporters, National Investment Board, and other government MDAs.

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