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Thursday, July 25, 2024

World Bank Grants Liberia $30 Million to Boost Tax Revenues, Strengthen Transparency

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The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved financing for the Governance Reform and Accountability Transformation (GREAT) Project.

This flagship project, funded by an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$30 million, will enhance access to selected digitally provided public services, raise tax revenues, and improve the openness and accountability of institutions. It will also strengthen the use of country systems and sustainably build the capacity of civil servants to implement reform programs.

“The GREAT project will support the Government’s ARREST (Agriculture, Roads, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation, and Tourism) agenda of achieving greater transparency, accountability, and efficiency in public institutions.

It will accelerate efforts to rebuild and transform key institutions while delivering tangible results for the people of Liberia – including those in hard-to-reach areas,” said World Bank Liberia Country Manager Georgia Wallen.

The project will address three key challenges in Liberia: a weak system for delivering administrative services due to low state presence and infrastructure constraints across the country; a strained fiscal outlook due to low domestic resource mobilization; and limited accountability for managing public resources, with uneven service delivery results.

Insufficient revenues undermine the ability of the state to provide services, while taxes are particularly difficult to mobilize in an environment of low accountability. These inter-connected challenges need to be addressed simultaneously.

Beneficiaries of the GREAT project include various government institutions, such as ministries, regulatory bodies, and commissions involved in finance, development, telecommunications, identification, revenue, anti-corruption, public accounts, procurement, and auditing.

However, the ultimate beneficiaries of the project are citizens of Liberia, who will enjoy the economic gains and efficiency benefits of improved public service delivery, higher domestic revenue mobilization, and enhanced transparency, accountability, and oversight. Citizens living outside the capital city, Monrovia, will especially benefit from improved basic service delivery at the county level.

“The new project’s focus on multichannel service delivery, especially through the digitalization of public services, will make key services more accessible and affordable. The implementation of the Value-Added Tax (VAT) will expand the tax base and enable the government to collect more revenue to meet spending needs.

Greater transparency and accountability will improve trust in the public sector’s performance and strengthen the social contract,” said Co-Task Team Leaders Runyararo Gladys Senderayi and MacDonald Nyazvigo.

The GREAT project will also seek to improve the follow-up on audit recommendations, the rollout of the e-Government Procurement system, the launch of a digitalized asset declaration and verification system, the rollout of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) to the counties, and the rollout of the National ID system.

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