Chairman Moyamba District Council, Joseph B. Mbogba remarked that ‘everybody wants to see the district develop, and that the Paramount Chiefs and Council should work together to raise revenue in untapped areas’.
He mentioned six important key points in revenue mobilization such as Discovery, Assessment, Billing, Sensitization, Collection and Compliance.
Chief Administrator of Moyamba District Council Alhaji Bangura said the 2004 Local Council Act allocates some functions to chiefdom authorities to mobilize revenue but not much has been realized. He said the meeting was timely as both parties (Council /Paramount Chiefs) will review the document and find ways and means to overcome the challenges.
“Councils will not develop if our traditional leaders are not encourage to come onboard revenue collection drive”, Bangura emphasized, adding “if all of us work together then own source revenue collection will be a success and development will thrive”.
The Chief Administrator explained challenges Council continue to face, stating that the Moyamba Junction market has not been under Council’s administration until very recently when an agreement was reached for Council to take over revenue collection.
Chairperson Council of Paramount Chiefs in Moyamba, PC Debora Quee emphasized that though the agreement was signed last year there were lots of challenges towards revenue collection. She said most Councilors then were not on good working terms with Paramount Chiefs and that led to the slow pace of collection and in some cases non- compliance. She called on everyone to turn a new page this time round to support the collection drive.
Vice Chair 2 of the Inclusive District Committee, Sara Yeama Jalloh, singled out Fambul Tok and Catalyst for Peace for creating space for community people to discuss issues which she said has helped to bring people and communities together. She said Moyamba has so many resources but most people do not know how to harness them. She re-emphasized the need for joint revenue collection.
PC Foday Momoh Gulama also noted that before renewing their commitment to the process they need to overcome previous challenges. He called on Local Government to re-enforce laws for tax defaulters, adding that ward committee members should be trained and provided with appropriate skills as they will also be sensitizing communities on revenue collection.
Executive Director, Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone, John Caulker said every Council is a gateway to development for every district. He said though the agreement was not fully complied with as specified in the document, everyone needs to come onboard and ensure compliance in 2018.
He said one of the challenges that may have led to slow pace and non-compliance of revenue collection was the poor relationships among traditional leaders, Councilors, Members of Parliament and Council. He suggested a special meeting for all Paramount Chiefs on one hand and another meeting for Councilors and Members of Parliament to harmonize proper working relationships at all levels
Highlighting strategies for revenue collection in 2018, Deputy Chief Administrator and Supervisor Revenue collection flexed Council’s muscle to embark on serious revenue mobilization for 2018, adding, that without the full cooperation of Chiefs it will not be possible. He mentioned the early release of receipt books, ID cards for collectors and motivation for revenue collectors which are bench marks of proper revenue collection.
Another speaker at the event included Hon. PC Haja Fatmata Koroma Meama Kajue of Dasse, who is Vice Chair one of IDC.
Also civil society groups made several suggestions towards effecting revenue collection.
Revenue generation especially from own sources is vital to the development and advancement of any country. In Sierra Leone, not much has been realized for the fact that there is poor coordination among traditional leaders and local councils in terms of collecting domestic revenues for the development of their various communities.
This poor and uncoordinated working relationship has crumbled the collection of much needed revenues in almost all districts in Sierra Leone
In 2016, Fambul Tok and its partner Catalyst for Peace realized the existing gaps and loopholes in revenue collection in its three pilot districts of Kailahun, Koinadugu and Moyamba. One of the key findings during the Taiama conference in Moyamba district was that because of the poor and uncoordinated working relationship between Paramount Chiefs and Local Councils, millions of Leones remain uncollected or are siphon thus communities continue to wallow in extreme poverty.
Due to this anomaly, Fambul Tok, through the Inclusive District Committees of the three districts held series of consultations with stakeholders and community representations and the outcomes of those meetings called for Traditional leaders and other community structures to work with their Local Councils to raise own source revenues. Early last year, Kailahun and Moyamba Councils signed a Memorandum of Understanding for joint revenue collection. Koinadugu IDC members have also held meetings to encourage traditional leaders to work closely with Council to raise domestic revenue.