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Sierra Leone News: Kakua Chiefdom struggles to collect local taxes and pay employees

Ambrose-Tejan

Ambrose-Tejan

Officials in Kakua Cheifdom, which includes Bo, are experiencing a shortage in local taxes, preventing them from paying the salaries of many chiefdom employees.
“To be very honest with you, tax collection for last year was at a very slow pace,” said Ambrose Tejan, Chiefdom admin clerk for the chiefdom.
Local taxes for the chiefdom amount to five thousand Leones (Le5,000) per person, but last year Tejan said they had only collected 55 million Leones. He was expecting over 150 million, which is itself a significantly lower figure than the 350 million the chiefdom is usually able to raise. “It was very discouraging, because of this Ebola outbreak in the country,” Tejan said. “We were running after people for local taxes but they refused to pay because Ebola was running after them.”
Only a few chiefdom positions — the Paramount Chief, the police, the chiefdom speaker and Tejan himself, receive a government salary, Tejan said. The remaining employees are paid primarily by revenue raised from taxes. Other sources of revenue include building site registration fees and court fees.
But this is not enough. Last year’s tax shortages mean most chiefdom employees have gone without a regular salary, including Tejan’s revenue collector, assistant clerk, clerk typist, three court chairmen, three court clerks, head overseer and laborers.
“At this time they are not on payroll  they are paid out of the revenue collected,” Tejan said.
“Tax collection is very difficult,” said Prince Lappia Boima IV, the Paramount Chief of Kakua Chiefdom. “We use our own source revenue to pay the remaining staff that is not being paid by government.”
Boima acknowledged that tax collection is the main source of revenue for the chiefdom, but questioned its necessity. Boima said he believes the chiefdom tax is unfair to villagers. “Why should the 18 year boy in the village be paying, and the same 18 year boy in the township does not pay tax? Justice is not being done,” he said.
“Left to me, let us forget about tax collection because it is not yielding the dividend we are expecting.”
By Chetanya Robinson
Thursday September 08, 2016

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