As Importers Set to Dialogue, Citizens Call For Government Intervention

Concerned citizens nationwide have called on government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry to quickly established a dialogue with business in the Central Business District (CBD) of Freetown that shut down on 3rd March, 2022 following the installed by the National Revenue Authority (ECR) machine in business entities with more than Le 100,000,000.00 (one hundred million Leones) turnover.

According to many businesses owner this press interviewed, the ECR machine installed by NRA, in those business entities add to the cost of their doing business. But according to NRA, the ECR machines only help large retail outlets track sales minimize register errors, collect inventory data and much more.

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A lot of misunderstanding exists between NRA and businesses, with NRA stating that the machines are for use by businesses with turnover of more than Le 100 million NRA maintains the machines are to ensure transparency in business transactions and the efficient and fair collection of taxes.

NRA further states the ECR machines and service level terms and conditions cost far less that the printing of GST tax receipts.

However, previously, the threshold for paying GST which the ECR machines are supposed to help to calculate was Le 350 million turnovers.

While NRA since October 2020 has held several sanitations meetings with businesses the latter are reluctant to accept the use of the ECR machines.

According to Dr. Samuel S Jibao, the NRA Commissioner General, the idea of introducing ECR machines in taxation came about in 2018 through the initiative of the Financial Secretary, Sahr Lahai Jusu because businesses have been using Manuel GST receipts to under value their tax return, but with every transaction that is done with the EDR machine, a receipt is generated that will enable the NRA to know exactly how much tax the business should pay.

According to The Satellite Newspaper, the Minister of Trade and Industry said the ECR machine is not an attack on businesses whom he said the government has a responsibility to protect. He however said some businesses have been deducting GST from customer transactions and failing to pass it on to NRA.

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