Section 45, subsection 1 of the Local Government Act No.1 of 2004 provided that “Local councils shall be financed from their own revenue collections,” aside devolved sector grants transferred to them from central government “for services delegated from Government Ministries.” As such, to ensure sound own source revenue mobilization in its locality, the Bo City Council now has a Local Revenue Mobilization Committee.
The Committee comprises the Mayor of the Council serving as its chairperson, the Deputy Chief Administrator as Secretary General, the Council’s Finance Officer, Valuation Officer, the Chairpersons of the following committees of the Bo City Council: the Revenue Committee, the Budget and Finance Committee, the Values and Assessment Committee; the Senior District Officer serving as the committee’s Co-Chairperson, the Central Chiefdom Administrative Clerk, the Chiefdom Speaker, the Chiefdom Administrative Clerk, the District Chairman and Secretary, Non State Actors; the District Chairperson and Secretary, the Civil Society Organization; Chairlady, the Market Women’s Association and the District Chairperson, Traders’ Union.
Marking the constitution and inauguration of the City Local Revenue Mobilization Committee held at the Bo City Council’s Chamber on Wednesday 15th June, 2022, the Deputy Mayor of the Bo City Council, David J. N. Smart registered that for some time now, “revenue mobilization has been a problem.”
He stated that since the reinstitution of Local Councils in 2004, “local Councils have had hiccups which they have been finding ways to adapt to in terms of mobilizing their much needed revenue from their localities.” The Deputy Mayor ended up by admonishing all that since a Committee on revenue mobilization in the city is to be constituted and inaugurated, all members of the committee should ensure frankness and attentiveness so as to achieve the desired goal which is making revenue mobilization better.
Giving an overview, Sallieu Kamara from the Fiscal Decentralization Division (FDD) informed all that there is a project at the Ministry of Finance known as the Resilient Urban Sierra Leone Project (RUSLP) which all City Councils nationwide are beneficiaries of. “As the name implies, RUSLP’s key objective is to see how City Councils and other Local Councils can mobilize resources to support services in their respective localities,” he pointed out.
He went on to say that local Councils were given avenues to pull resources in the Local Government Act No. 1 of 2004 since the devolved grants will be insufficient for them. “Sadly enough, some local councils mostly rely on devolved grants and that is because they do little or nothing to collect own source revenue and if that is the case, a huge burden will be on the shoulders of central government,” Sallieu Kamara cried out.
He went on to say reasons for this could be attributed to either the people being unwilling to pay taxes or the Council has not put forth better collection mechanisms. “This is the reason for a City Local Revenue Mobilization Committee,” he stressed.
Kamara informed Committee members that the committee is to hang heads with the council and source apt mechanisms to tackle poor revenue mobilization in the city. “The general objective of this committee is to examine how the local council can improve the mobilization of its internally generated fund; so much is expected of you all,” he ended.
The constituted and inaugurated Bo City Local Revenue Mobilization Committee had its first meeting afterwards with plans for a second meeting soonest as it hopes to get the Council’s revenue performance on a super highway soonest.