NRA reaps dividends from digitalizing revenue collections

By Philip Buda Ladu

The Deputy Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) Africano Monday said the digitalization of tax collections has significantly started paying dividends as the NRA reaps big non-oil revenues’ collections.

Mr. Africano stated that since they came into the National Revenue Authority about one and half years ago, it is evident on record that they are able to significantly increase revenue.

He stated that they took some drastic steps that really paid to help them increase revenue collections. Firstly, they started digitalizing and automating the tax remittance system so that they avoid manual collections to eradicate errors.

“You know we are given targets by the Ministry of Finance and say within this fiscal year you are required to collect this and this and you know very well that we have surpassed the collection required of us and the target by almost 125% so that is a drastic increase and I will be very happy for you to get in touch with our people so that you are able to get the specific figures,” Africano said.

“Today we have registered more than 24,000 taxpayers within the digital system, they have their Tin Numbers and system connected to the other government institutions such as Immigration and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs that is responsible for registration and so forth so this provided us with real time remittances and it provides us with visibility. We are able to visibly see revenues being collected,” he continued.

Africano Monday alluded to one classical example of MTN as one of the service providers whose tax remittance to the NRA has significantly increased after being digitized compared to before, it was registered for digital tax system.

He said MTN used to give a maximum of about probably 400 million South Sudanese Pounds a month, but since they started operations, they have really improved revenue collection system through digitalization and so forth.

Similarly, the NRA’s Deputy Boss stated that “today receive was almost 1.2 billion South Sudanese Pounds from MTN alone. That, in itself gives you a reason to believe that collections have improved” Africano said.

The NRA official said, they also tried to improve the human resource capacity at the institution which is one of the critical steps, so they embarked on that accounted to the increase in collections.

“You know the human resource capacity is very key that’s why we have brought on board quite a number of serious and senior officials. We were able to even move staff, there were people who have the capacities and capabilities but they were not put in the right place so we even had to move our staff here and there so that they are able to deliver to their respective areas of operations and that has significantly improved,” African echoed.

However, Africano Monday said NRA didn’t have a strategic plan. He said that they were operating outside a plan and didn’t have a clear strategic direction that they wanted to go to.

He nevertheless said, as a best practice all over the world an institution like the NRA must have a corporate strategic plan which guides all its operations.

“We are now developing it and we are able to highlight a number of areas; one is of course to improve on the human resource capabilities, number two is digitization, automation and really developing a system that talks to each other, we can’t automate a system that doesn’t talk to systems within the Immigration, that doesn’t have an interface with system in the Ministry of Finance,” Africano hinted.

The NRA Deputy Commissioner General noted that there are a number of areas that they have highlighted, saying he won’t pre-empt what they intend to do and intend to bring forth in the strategic plan but wait for things to unfold.

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