Open Tax Initiative explains how tax defaults may halt operations of state owned telco, telecom regu
According to the executive director of Open Tax Initiative, Tanu Jalloh, telecoms regulator National Telecommunications Commission(Natcom) has been a very powerful source of non-tax revenues for the government of Sierra Leone.
However, it also has the powers to expend two thirds of revenues it generates and only supposed to remit the one-third to the country's consolidated revenue fund (CRF).
Therefore when the new government started working it forced the regulator to transfer funds in its possession to the CRF, instantly amounting to about US$30m.
Jalloh said: "Natcom's retention of money it collected, on which it is supposed to pay tax, has just been stopped by the new govt."
The revenue authority has not specified a deadline for the payment to be made or when it will take action.
However, the tax journalist and tax campaigner, explains why it could happen anytime.
"Usually after that notice, which invoked the relevant laws, they can move in within three days. It is more or less a warrant which can be executed as immediately as the NRA is ready to do so."
The state-owned telco, Sierratel, is suffering a similar fate as NATCOM. The government has frozen withdrawal from its bank accounts until it pays back approximately US$14m in taxes and debt.
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