He disclosed that for a start, a defaulting GST registered business like Raju’s Electricals and Electronics, one of the biggest India owned and run importers of electronics in the country, would be fined Le10 million.
Another business, a Lebanese run Adnan’s Supermarket, would be made to pay some Le210 million for obstruction of their operation. The NRA officials also claimed that they saw a teller in the supermarket giving out more than 10 receipts to customers in complete violation of the GST rule, noting that they were GST receipts. They also said the business did display their GST certificate.
The NRA corporate affairs manager said they would continue to enforce the laws until all the business entities complied with the rules of the goods and services tax, adding that people should receive the right receipts from business owners.
In October, one month after the government issued a 30-day ultimatum for all businesses that were in arrears of GST to pay up or risked prosecution, NRA threatened tough enforcement policy but importers said the mode of enforcement could lead to bad blood.
A day after the ultimatum was announced on September 3, president of the importers’ association, Alpha Tanue Jalloh, said they were not consulted before the decision was taken.
“Failure to properly inform us officially of such ultimatum before issuing it out will result into bitterness and misunderstanding between business houses and the government”, he warned.
When contacted about the fact that the ultimatum could unsettle the business community Mr Bangura said: “we have been reminding tax payers of their obligation, but with the recent proclamation by government that within a month’s time all arrears should be paid, the agency is ready to enforce compliance after the expiration of the ultimatum”.
On September 3, 2016 the government issued a statement announcing tough policy measures to tackle economic slowdown in the country. OpenTax Initiative, a media-led consortium that advocates for fair, transparent and open tax administration and illicit financial flows, had reacted in a statement on its online social media platform, referring to the short ultimatum as “desperate and unfair”.