By: Taisiah K.Merfee
Members of the business community of Liberia, particularly, Mr. Dominic Nimely President of the Patriotic Entrepreneur of Liberia (PATEL) and Mr. Mohammed Majah Barry, President of the Fulah Business Association of Liberia have expressed serious opposing view to the Digital and Electronic policy introduced by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) aimed at promoting effective outcomes within the business sectors of Liberia through information Technology.
Speaking in a press conference Tuesday March 1, 2022, Mr. Nimely said that the Digital Liberia and Electronic which seeks to roll out the integrated financial management system is intended to drive business people from doing business in the country, adding that the policy is very bad for Liberia –a country that lacks stable electricity.
According to him, the new policy introduced by the LRA demands businesses to purchase computer from the LRA which have system installed on it to help promote revenue generation for the Government of Liberia.
He alleged that LRA is now selling computer to the business community US$700; US$400; US$350 as it is being done in stores and other big business areas in the country, noting that the program and policy was brought by the LRA without informing them (the business community) as stakeholders.
‘’We are asking the Government of Liberia through the LRA to rethink imposing policy or law on us because we are stakeholders and we need to make sure that our views are respected. The same policy they are fighting to implement in Liberia here was tested in Sierra Leone but it did not materialize because power was unstable in the West African country. The same scenario could occur here as former Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bah Kromah struggled with the idea which caused business people to leave the country. “We foresee that the same fate the program had in Sierra Leone would happen in Liberia if care is not taken,’’ Mr. Nimely explained.
He said the Government should understand that the business community is not slave but partner in progress because without the business community the government cannot succeed likewise the business community, urging that they should work together with understanding and respect for each other.
Mr. Nimely described the entire situation as an affront to the business community because the action by LRA shows that they do not regard the business community in any decision making process and policy when the both parties should work as partners to bring success to government.
‘’We are advising them to study this policy and stop imposing it on us because this policy will cause Liberians to close and leave to do business other areas. We are willing to have our people educated but this is not the time to do so. We are bringing in investor and as we are doing that let them do not make the little to leave.
Giving background of the policy and meeting with the LRA, the President of the Fulah Business Association of Liberia, Mr. Mohammed Barrey said they received communication from LRA to the Liberia Business Association, and the Liberia Chamber of commerce informing them about a meeting with the LRA concerning the policy.
Mr. Barry noted that during the meeting, LRA explained to them about the policy and they did not accept their request because of the listed factor and the meeting ended in confusion without a comprehensive understanding and the LRA promised to called them back to conclude but failed to do so.