Government Loses Revenue as Political Parties Fail to Register Vehicles
Monrovia – Fleets of unlicensed and unregistered vehicles belonging to political parties are freely plying the streets of Monrovia and other parts of the country without any hindrance.
Report by Lennart Dodoo – [email protected]
Over the past two days, FrontPageAfrica has been inquiring from the Ministry of Transport as to whether the vehicles brought in by the various political parties for campaign purposes have been registered and licensed.
However, the public relations officer, Mr. Samuel Bajibo, has not been able to respond to our inquiry, but he has been dodging the inquiry with an excuse he was busy attending a workshop.
It can be recalled that Liberty Party unveiled 65 vehicles which they bragged as being part of preparations for their campaign.
The ruling Unity Party also displayed 23 and promised more to come; the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) also displaying its preparedness for the campaign showcased 35 vehicles and 300 motorbikes.
Sources within the Transport Ministry informed this paper that some political parties are acquiring stickers for their vehicles on account and would pay in installments. FrontPageAfrica has not been able to independently verify this information.
“How are they obtaining tax clearance to present to the NEC for qualification? These vehicles being brought in by the NEC and the political parties can generate huge revenue for government. But they are blatantly being non-compliant and the Transport Ministry is sitting with folded arms as if all is right,” a source within MoT who asked for anonymity said.
The minimum cost of registering a vehicle US$150. Cost increases depending on the model of the vehicle and how it is being registered.
Liberty Party’s Darius Dillon told FrontPageAfrica the party has already registered all its vehicles and they are fully in compliance.
The Spokesman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) also told this paper they started the registration on Wednesday and were hopeful of completing the process by this weekend.
He, however, intoned that the process could drag due to system failures at the Ministry of Transport.
When contacted on how much the LRA could raise in revenue through the registration of these vehicles and motorcycles the Communications Manager at the LRA, D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh said the LRA could not put a figure to it now until it is able to ascertain the number of vehicles in total. He called on political parties to see themselves as the government in waiting, therefore, they have to be tax compliant.
“If they win they are going to depend on the same taxes to run the government. LRA is not a political institution so we’re not collecting taxes from a particular political party or for a specific person, but we’re collecting taxes for the Liberian people.”
According to Sengbeh, the Ministry of Transport and the LRA to ensure that all political parties’ vehicles and motorbikes are registered.
“Right now the LRA is working with the Ministry of Transport to ensure that the awareness and information go out to all political parties to register all unregistered vehicles and motorbikes. We’re doing a communication with the National Elections Commission as well to ensure that all political parties are tax compliant, including the registration of vehicles,” Sengbeh told FPA.
According to him, political parties and candidates who are not compliant would be served a bill to pay their taxes.
At the beginning of this month, the LRA in observance of Taxpayers Appreciation Day certificated the Ministry of Transport as the highest contributing sector ministry to government revenue generation.