Africa-Press – Sierra-Leone. A Non-Tax Revenue Mobile Payment Application, which is an E-Service channel to enhance easy payment access for all Government services offered by Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), was launched by the National Revenue Authority (NRA) on the 28th July ,2022. The goals of this particular reform are: to automate all non-tax revenue payments, resolve payment verification challenges, improve the entire collection process through a payment App and introduce online payment for ITAS, ASYCUDA, and SMEs.
The activity is part of the African Development Bank (AfDB) project titled ‘Enhancing Tax Compliance’ (ENTACO) which started in 2019.
Speaking on behalf of the Non-Tax Revenue Department, Commissioner Sheku Fadika, expressed the view that we should be honest as a nation to say we are far behind technological reforms and according to him, the NRA has broken that seal through seamless efforts.
He referred to the Electronic Cash Register (ECR) and the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) as existing reforms at the Domestic Tax Department which have had a great impact on revenue generation. He also stated that technological innovation involves a huge investment which is why the NRA is keen on systems implementation.
Fadika summarized the features of the Mobile Payment App which according to him is inclusive of the integration of payment processes for all non-tax revenue streams.
He, therefore, reminded the audience that the present collection processes and procedures within the non-tax revenue operations through manual systems expose staff to human errors, oversight, insufficient use of time, and unnecessary work.
Fadika ended by stating that the response to those challenges by NRA is to adopt an E-payment system of the non-tax revenues through a mobile App developed by a local digital firm.
The Commissioner General at NRA, Dr. Samuel S. Jibao, shared similar sentiments by appreciating the presence of representatives from the various MDAs. He however used the platform to give a synopsis of recent Revenue Administration Reforms that the NRA has implemented since the inception of the present Board and Management in four years of leadership.
Dr. Jibao affirmed that apart from revenue generation, which has been effectively done since 2018, revenue growth has been consistent from 12.3% in 2017 to 15.5% in 2021 which is enough to be recognized by international partners as a Government dedicated to domestic revenue collection.
Delving into the new online payment for the non-tax revenue payments, he outlined that the functions of the system will include: Ease of payment of court fines and other payments for places where banks may not be available, Easy verification of payment, automatic receipting, and ease of reconciliation with the banks.
He rounded up his recollection of issues by calling on all and sundry who witnessed the live demo of the payment process to come on board in making this desire a reality.
Representing the African Development Bank (AfDB) Country Director, Felicitas Chi Cho Atanga said the bank is impressed with how the NRA management handled the implementation of the project. She further expressed that the AfDB is very much pleased with the launch of the Mobile App, adding that all the projects that have been implemented are up till now in effect.
In her brief contribution, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors at NRA, Tuma Adama Jento Kamara averred that she is a huge fan of how digitalization makes life easier for ordinary people. This speaks to the effect that when administrative bureaucracies are easy, staff will be given more time to focus on high-value activities. She posited that it is now stale to hear that the rest of the world is moving away from manual and disruptive systems emphasizing the role of the NRA which is not only limited to revenue mobilization but to create an enabling space for fairness in the tax system.
Bockarie Kalokoh, the Deputy Minister of Finance II, reiterated their supervisory role in the formulation of tax policies and regulations stating that the New Direction Administration is poised to modernize tax administration as a manifesto priority maintaining that it is therefore obvious that what the NRA is doing in automating and modernizing tax system in the country is the right direction.
He concluded by stating that as the digital revolution takes effect in revenue administration processes, the National Revenue Authority is determined to digitalize all Non-Tax Revenue payments as seen in the demo of the E-Service payment process.