Liberia and Holland Thursday, May 27, signed an economic agreement for exchange of information on tax policies and practices, aimed at promoting transparency and contributing to the development of the world’s economy.
Acting Finance Minister Tarnue Marwolo singed for Liberia while the Dutch Ambassador accredited near Monrovia Gerben De Jong penned the pact for his country.
Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs Cllr. Krubo Kollie, other officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Bureau of Maritime Affairs witnessed the signing ceremony which took place at the Finance Ministry.
“We come here this morning to sign an exchange of agreement on information of tax matter with the Dutch Government,” Minister Marwolo said in his pre-signing statement, describing the initiative as “very important”.
Minister Marwolo said Liberia joins a couple of countries that have already signed the non-binding bilateral agreement.
“Its is not a binding bilateral agreement, but it is an instrument that commits ourselves to share information on our tax policies and tax practices with other countries for the purpose of creating a competitive and level playing field in the global economy,” he explained.
The agreement was carved and harmonized with Liberian laws, the Minister said.
“It is a significant undertaking, it helps the global economy, and it helps ourselves as Government as we are integrating ourselves into other groups of the global economy. It also demonstrates our level of transparency and commitment to move this country forward,” Marwolo emphasized.
Mr. De Jong, in a brief statement said he was happy that Liberian was joining the global initiative.
“I am extremely pleased and happy to have this occasion today, and of course I would like to applaud the government of Liberian to move in this direction,” the Dutch envoy said.
He said it was a good agenda on development, on transparency and on an improved economy.
Ambassador De Jong said it was a bigger cooperation in the global economy as practices by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
The OECD is an international economic organization of 31 countries.
It defines itself as a forum of countries committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a setting to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identifying good practices, and coordinating domestic and international policies of its members.
The OECD extends membership to non-member countries like (yesterday) Liberia. It is reported to have about 25 non-member counties as members.
Ambassador De Jong said the agreement between Holland (an OECD member country) and Liberia is a bright opportunity to sell Liberian into the global economy for its economic development.
“I applaud the government of Liberia for taking this decision and as we work in this field together,” the ambassador noted, before penning the pact.
Minister Marwolo further described the agreement as “an expression of our commitment to the process of transparency and openness in the operations of our government and our economy to which this government has committed itself.
He said the Liberian Government has encouraged private sector investment in the economy because private-sector led growth is the pillar of its economy policy, which is visible in the poverty reduction strategy.
The private sector has to be the engine of growth, and we have to make sure that happens, he said.
Taxation and tax policy, he asserted, is one fiscal instrument that is used to create the enabling environment through which private sector growth can be realized.
“To achieve this we have to have tax policies that are good, fair and transparent, and promote a competitive and level playing field, and also discourage criminality in the doing of business,” he propounded.
Marwolo said: “We’ve therefore developed an agreement for exchange of tax information, because we believe that as long as we have transparency, we can exchange our tax information among nations.”
He said the agreement signed yesterday will create a forum for discussion whereby government can begin to eliminate harmful tax practices, enhance participation in the conduct of business globally and also create a competitive business environment.