Tax Matters at the OECD  3Paris, France - The Honorable Minister of Finance and Development Planning Hon. Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. has emphasized that in the light of the country’s ambitious Pro-Poor Development Agenda, domestic resource mobilization is critical to Liberia’s debt sustainability.

The Minister of Finance made the assertion at Liberia’s signing of the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters on Monday, June 11 in Paris, France.

Minister Tweah said that Liberia anticipates leveraging the Convention as part of the country’s Domestic Resource Mobilization Strategy which provides the roadmap and the framework for transforming Liberia’s tax administration over the next five years.

He assured that the country is prepared to make huge strides to significantly ramp up the effectiveness of our tax administration while as he put it, “plugging leakages and shoring up capacity for tax assessment.”

Meanwhile, Hon. Tweah has emphasized that Liberia’s signing of the Convention underscores the heightened importance the Government attaches to the accuracy, integrity and transparency of revenue accruing to the people of Liberia.
He expressed the delight of the government of President Weah to seize on the opportunity in joining other nations in accelerated push against tax evasion and avoidance, which he said are dealing a crippling blow to revenue generation in developing countries.

The seasoned Economist then rationalized that the reality is that the marginal impact of tax evasion and avoidance is largest in developing or low income countries such as Liberia.

Minister Tweah then disclosed that “several reports have amply shown that most African Governments are under-receiving taxes from multi-national corporations in the natural resource sector, for example, where these companies deploy sophisticated accounting gimmicks beyond the reach and capacity of countries.”

He however added that while the corruption and abuse of natural resource rents by Governments is a big part of the much bandied about ‘natural resource curse,’ the manipulation of taxes by powerful multinationals contributes immensely and equally to the ‘resource curse’.

Speaking further at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development organized signing event in the French capital, Paris, Finance Minister Hon. Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. acknowledged some of the importances of Liberia’s signing the Convention were countering illicit financial flows and terrorist financing which would consequently contribute to global efforts in making difficult finances getting in the hands of terrorists by creating a global transparent tax information exchange and enforcement platform.

He then conveyed the strongest commitment of President George M. Weah to fully cooperate with other Parties under the Convention to the extent allowable under the terms of the Convention.

OECD Deputy Secretary-General, Masamichi Kono has meanwhile congratulated Liberia for signing the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and described it as a crucial milestone towards putting the Convention into force in the country.

He said it was gratifying that the country has joined the most comprehensive multilateral instrument covering over 120 jurisdictions which is available for all forms of cross-border tax cooperation, including exchange of information on request and the automatic exchange of information pursuant to the Common Reporting Standard.

Mr. Kono pledged the OECD support and cooperation, as the country moves to ensuring its various programs are implemented.