P.M. emphasises taxes as Ministry of Revenue celebrates
The Ministry of Customs and Revenue has celebrated two consecutive years of exceeding its revenue collection goals.
And in acknowledging the challenges, the Ministry says the continued defiance of some Church Ministers on non-payment of taxes presented a challenge.
But Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, emphasised the importance of the Ministry’s role when he addressed the staff.
“Tax collectors are the most hated people in the world and that is why your job is unique,” Tuilaepa said. “Without the taxes the government cannot pursue its developments.”
He encouraged the staff to continue to do their job with honesty and to look out for businesses.
“It is in our human nature not to pay taxes,” he said. “Any business, once their profits slowly decrease they will look for ways not to pay taxes and it is your job to make sure they pay it.”
He referenced the Bible, saying paying taxes is the will of God.
“So not paying taxes is going against the will of God,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister reminded the Ministry without taxes the Government cannot afford free medical, free education and other developments.
“In America, if you cannot afford to pay your medical bill, you cannot be treated in the hospitals, and that is why many Americans die from the coronavirus because they cannot afford to pay their medical bills,” he said.
“However for our people, there is free medical treatment because our people cannot afford hospital bills.”
A statement issued by the Ministry said that this most recent Financial Year had presented a range of challenges and opportunities.
“The Ministry maintained focus and remained steadfast to our values and principles as the basis of our operations and at the same time, observed the statutory obligations in upholding the integrity of all laws in which it administered as a customs and tax administration,” the statement said.
The set target for revenue collection for the 2019-2020 Financial Year was $527.7 million; the Ministry actually took in $551 million, the statement said.
“The Ministry’s performance recorded a surplus of $1.5 million in June 2020. As a result, the revenue collection year to date registered an excess of $23.6 million compared to a surplus of $21.5 million in the same period in FY 2018/19," the statement said.
In addition to the revenue increase, the Ministry also celebrated the launch of the new Tax Invoice Monitoring System and various seizures of currency and illegal goods and major projects including the X-Ray scanner as part of the Samoa Port Redevelopment project.