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Sunday, January 29, 2023

NRA No Longer On Life Support

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NRA No Longer On Life Support

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This, among other things, has strengthened awareness of the link between taxation, expenditure and accountability and legitimacy of the State.

Ostensibly, the NRA has broadened the domestic tax base, improved tax compliance, and curbed tax evasion thereby increasing tax revenues.

Still, President Bio and his team must steer the ship of state in the turbulent water of malfeasance and cravenness inherited from the last administration.

International observers say President Bio has never given the impression that he is not capable of turning things around and anchoring Sierra Leone on a footing that would spur economic development and prosperity.  Indeed, the signs of this are as palpable as they are auspicious.

For example, by establishing the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation under the directorship of an MIT- trained scientist, President Bio has positioned Sierra Leone as a country that can leap-frog in science, technology and innovation.

Also, the President in promoting human capital development has successfully launched the Free Quality Education program that now serves over two million elementary and secondary school pupils.

Correspondingly, Sierra Leone also offers scholarships to students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the country’s public colleges.

Much of these successes have been the result of the President’s relentless fight against corruption and his ability to stop leakages in the country’s financial management operations by prudent management of the operations of the NRA and its generated resources.

However, sound financial management and taxation must be augmented by production for a truly developmental state to rise in Sierra Leone.   Although the taxation economy has kept Sierra Leone afloat for the last year, it is production and not taxation that creates wealth.

By taking goods of lower value, adding knowledge and labor, and creating goods of higher value, production undoubtedly creates wealth.

Although taxes can raise revenues, they can be instruments of control and regulation.   Additionally, taxes can reduce disposable incomes thereby forcing taxpayers to reduce expenditures on necessities.  A reduction in disposable incomes also affects savings and investment adversely.

Mindful of the pitfalls of taxation, President Bio has been working relentlessly to move Sierra Leone from a taxation economy to a production based country.

This move, the President has emphasized, must be built on the initiative of protecting the preferential option for the poor while making the machinery of government work to deliver the benefits of progress for all Sierra Leoneans.

The President has also emphasized that his production economy considers human capital development, private sector development and domestic entrepreneurship and innovation, infrastructural development, tourism development and agricultural development as areas where macroeconomic stability and growth can be anchored.

Thus, as the government pursues policies to attract foreign direct and domestic investments, projects like the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) in Northern and Eastern Sierra Leone, when completed, will provide the country and other West African countries with the support needed to foster sustainable and scalable off-grid electrification.

President Bio’s multidimensional initiatives, especially his relentless fight against corruption and his pursuit of human capital development have won him praise around the globe.

The President and his Minister of Agriculture and Forestry are also pursuing a program of agricultural development in all districts of the country that would ensure food security soon.

Thus, sooner rather than later, it would not be farfetched to consider Sierra Leone a case study for human capital development and best practice in the fight against corruption in Africa.

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