As Parliament prepares to critically discuss the bottled-up 2016 Auditor General’s Report that was supposed to have been laid in the last Parliament, prior to the March 7 general elections, aggrieved parliamentarians of the ruling SLPP government are uncompromisingly pushing for the immediate review of the contentious and criticized 2017 Finance Act.
The Auditor General’s Report, like the Finance Act, expose huge financial leakages perpetrated by a den of dishonest and crooked government operatives notorious for siphoning government resources, while the latter (Finance Act) has over the years indirectly robbed the crumbled economy of much needed resources from tax.
Consequently, this cascading effect that stemmed from the ill-used Finance Act under the guise of Local Content Policy has provoked Parliamentarians of the New Direction to strongly call for its immediate review in order to enable government generates the much needed funds required to actualize President’s Free Education scheme.
The MPs maintained that, though it was a prudent decision by the past government to empower local institutions, similarly, the country’s revenue base should not be seen losing huge funds for kick-backs to self-centered politicians, deliberating ignoring the bigger picture that bothers on national development, since the government largely depends on tax to enhance good governance.
They urged that since the 2017 Finance Act was approved by the last Parliament to give indirect and absolute monopoly to the indigenous Sierra Leone Brewery Company over its foreign competitors by imposing an over-bloated tax on foreign importers, it is evident that, the country has not only lost billions of Leones on tax, but disappointedly, Brewery has not lived up to expectation as anticipated by the drinking public.
Hence, they are now calling on President Bio to ensure Parliament, being the people’s voice, to put aside politics and personal benefits and do due diligence on the Finance Act that will create the platform for a liberalized market to further encourage competition and as well aide government recoup lost revenue from tax in that sector over the years.
In the said document the follwoing recommendations that caused government to pointlessly loses billions of Leone annually in the midst of a crippling economy are as follows: That the rate for juice and other beverages is 30%, Tax duties on alcoholic content: $4 per litre for less than 10% and $10 per litre for more than 10% (percentage is on alcoholic content), amongst others. This ugly develpment, they say, has gravely affected the drinking populace, and therefore, it should be reviewed immediately.
Meanwhile, it is reported that the long awaited 2017 Audit report was temporarily concealed because of the unthinkable degree of fraud contained therein that would have undoubtedly fractured the outgone APC government prior to the hotly contested 2018 elections.
See Press Release Below:
AUDITOR-GENERAL’S 2016 REPORT ON THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS OF SIERRA LEONE TABLED IN PARLIAMENT
Freetown, Sierra Leone- The Auditor-General of Sierra Leone wishes to inform the general public that the Audited Report on the Public Accounts of Sierra Leone for the year ended
31st December, 2016 has been tabled in parliament on Tuesday 12th June, 2018.
Section 119(2) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone mandates the Auditor-General to audit the Public Accounts of Sierra Leone and all public offices including; the courts, the accounts of the central and local government administrations, of the universities and public institutions of like nature, any statutory corporation, company or other body or organisation established by an Act of Parliament or statutory instrument or otherwise set up partly or wholly out of Public Funds.
Section 119(4) of the 1991 Constitution also states that the Auditor-General shall within twelve months of the end of the immediately preceding financial year, submit her report to Parliament and shall in that report draw attention to any irregularities in the audited accounts and to any other matter which in her opinion ought to be brought to the notice ofParliament.
The Auditor-General has also simplified the report by producing a graphic representation and summary of this report.
The full reportand the simplified version can be accessed at: www.auditservice.gov.sl
Information, Education & Communications Officer