Over the weekend, the Liberian government’s Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) held a Value-Added-Tax (VAT) awareness event in Grand Gedeh County, which was the last stop of the event.
Supported by the World Bank, the VAT objective is to broaden the consumption of the tax base, facilitate tax compliance, create an overall transparent tax system, discourage under-evaluation and smuggling, promote self-policing, promote neutrality (does not distort economic decisions), and contribute to ECOWAS regional fiscal integration.
It seeks citizen feedback, recommendations, and key findings on the current Goods and Services Tax (GST) system and how to replace the current GST in accordance with ECOWAS Directives, as Liberia is now the only country in the sub-region that has not yet transitioned to VAT.
Speaking at the three-day awareness event, Director of Indirect Tax Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Robert Q. Dwuye, Jr., Lead Technical Focus Person for VAT, said the program is intended to create awareness among county officials, civil society organizations, youth, market women, and business organizations traveling from the southeast so they can understand the importation of a new tax regime called the Value Added Tax system that is currently being used by other west African nations.
“Today we are here to encourage and create awareness across the county by informing businesses operating in Region II about the changes in the current goods and services tax to the value-added tax.”
According to Mr. Dwuye, in 2024, the good and service tax will be replaced with the value-added tax for the sole purpose of generating more revenue and expanding the tax base for growth and development in Liberia.
He expressed optimism that, with the success of the workshop, participants have received the right knowledge about the Value Added Tax (VAT).
He disclosed that inputs from participants, superintendents, town chiefs, religious leaders, petty traders, and civil society organizations were key to the awareness exercise and hoped they would spread the message across other counties.
Dwuye indicated that the introduction of VAT will enable the government to provide more goods and services for its citizens as a result of the increase in its revenue basket.
He thanked development partners for the positive steps taken and called for more intervention, like logistical support for the smooth implementation of VAT in Liberia.
Participants from different working groups, local authorities from the business community, civil society organizations, religious groups, and petty traders participated in the deliberations and agreed to support the transition from the GST to the VAT.
The week-long validation awareness campaign of a value-added tax (VAT) was attended by superintendents, town chiefs, religious leaders, petty traders, and civil society organizations from Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, Grand Kru, River Gee, and Maryland counties.
The nationwide and senior staff from the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Liberia Revenue Authority, with support from the World Bank as a development partner, and the Project Management Unit from the Ministry of Finance.