NRA told to train citizens on tax compliance

NRA told to train citizens on tax compliance
Governor Emmanuel Adil speaking during a stakeholders consultative workshop in Juba on Thursday, May 12, 05, 2022. [Keji Janefer, City Review]

The Governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil, is calling on the National Revenue Authorities (NRA) to educate the citizens taxation.

Adil made the remarks at a stakeholders’ consultation meeting in Juba to orient NRA staff on the institution’s five-year strategic plan.

“Some people see tax as punishment and we have to eradicate that,” said Adil. 

The remarks came amidst complaints from foreign traders of excessive taxation by those charged with collecting taxes, adding that sometimes that do not get receipts even after paying the levies.

The heavy levies sometimes force traders to close shops while those still in business are made to hike commodity prices.

NRA has seen an increase in non-oil revenue collection across the country over the last two years.

Need for Harmonisation

The Governor, however, called for the harmonisation of revenue collection as stipulated in the transitional constitution, which guides revenue collection at all levels.

He said there have been overlapping roles on “who collects what” at every level, and that “we will move our citizens from seeing that we are overtaxing them.”

“We have to look at what the law says. What does NRA law say? Our respective constitutions and the national constitution the supreme law?

“We have to reduce tax breaks and expand tax bracket because some people are saying our taxes are high. We have to look at this in terms of tax rates and so on. Therefore, I also believe that enforcement should be the last option,” observed the governor.

Meanwhile, Mr Patrick Mugoya, the Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority, said they will develop a strategy to instill a tax-paying culture that would be incorporated into the school curriculum.

“Tax-paying culture is an obligation. We will have a program to try and enhance a culture of voluntarily paying taxes,” Mugoya.

Mugoya added they were going to “strengthen the legal framework, train and enhance the capacity of the staff to make sure they can discover tax invasion.’’

“They can prevent tax avoidance, they can do effective tax audits and uncover tax invasion and then use the law to enforce collection. We could even have a law and strengthen it so that tax invaders can be taken to prison. This is what we want to do,” Partick said. 

According to the commissioner-general, the stakeholder interaction would be the final step before the NRA produces the first draft of five-year strategic plan, as mandated by section 48 of the Revenue Authority Act 2016.

Similar engagements were held in Malakal and Wau to include stakeholders’ input into the formation of the National Revenue Authority’s vision and co-values to guide the agency’s strategic intervention and reform agenda for the next five years.

When the current NRA management took over in 2020, the government had set a target of SSP14.7 billion as the non-oil revenue collection for the financial year 2020-2021. However, the commissioner-general said non-oil revenue collections increased by SSP47 by the end of the financial year on June 30, 2021. 

“I am happy to report as of 30th, April 2022, NRA has already surpassed its target as actual non-oil revenue collection by the end of April amounts to SSP64.4 billion,” Mugoya revealed.

In addition, the government established a non-oil revenue target of SSP58.2 billion pounds for the current financial year 2021-2022, which ends next month.