In an effort to ensure compliance with an effective domestic revenue generation, Massa Crayton, Country Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), has called for a fairer tax system which allows citizens benefit from the taxes.
Addressing the formal launch of an awareness campaign organized by the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) yesterday on the impact of excessive taxation and the extent to which it threatens the peace and stability of the state, Madam Crayton said citizens must know the end results of their taxes in order for them to be motivated. The program sought to solicit stakeholders suggestions and inputs on the way forward to bring relief to the people through mediation for fairer tax governance and reforms based on the ‘Ability-To Pay Principle’ of Taxation. Madam Crayton emphasized that the need for fair tax system in Liberia, that everyone understands, and are able to comply, which is an essential tool for development. “We have seen instances where taxes are compromised by tax officers and we can only rise above all of that by taking the necessary steps and inform ourselves and change our mindsets about taxation. One thing we are unaware of is that the LRA is only responsible to collect taxes,” she said. “We must educate the people about taxation if we will succeed. If we must stop all the external borrowing, with huge interest rates that generations yet unborn will have to pay, we need to make sure that as we collect internally, we make sure that we see the end results of the taxes we are collecting,” she said. She further mentioned: “in our tax justice initiative, we ensure that we get to the bottom of whatever it is by getting out the information, engaging cross section of players by supporting different entities and going to the students in the classrooms to teach them about taxation. We are supporting the LRA on the issues of taxation and education. Most people are not aware that they need to pay taxes because there is a concern about benefit.” The one year project undertaken by IREDD with direct support from OSIWA is intended to create citizens’ awareness about the need to pay taxes to meet the country’s development objectives, as well as ensure debates that would raise the issue of unnecessary and unfair taxations that stump development.