The Inland Revenue Department is developing a 3-year strategic plan with assistance from the International Monetary Fund and in collaboration with the Caribbean Research Technical Assistance Centre (IMF/CARTAC).
According to a ministry official, the project is focused on the reform of its governance arrangements, stakeholder management and identification of key knowledge gaps for capacity development in the area of reform management.
Senior management of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) participated in a week-long strategic planning workshop last month facilitated by the IMF/CARTAC Short-Term Expert, Princess Scott. The workshop emanated from a Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool (TADAT), which looked at the health of the department and the necessary measures required to align the department with its strategic objectives.
Marcia Vité is the Comptroller at the IRD.
“You know it’s almost like saying, a business with no sign is a sign of no business. It’s the same with a business plan, knowing the direction you want to go is always very, very helpful,” she said.
“And, once we can align that to the Ministry of Finance’s plan it is always a step-down. So now with our plan, we can chart the way forward for the next three years and we would know where exactly we are. We can go against that plan to say, this is what you’ve planned for year one, have you met your expectations and we can ensure that we can have corrective action,” added Vité.
CARTAC provides technical assistance to its 20-plus member countries across the Caribbean in areas such as tax mobilization, and financial management of the economy among other cross-cutting areas with the aim of stabilizing economies and enabling global growth.
“Regional Growth is very important, certainly just to stabilize how economies run. And so, industries and sectors which form part of those economies and also more importantly, the people that are part of those economies, need to ensure that they’re having their value being seen by what the government produces but also as well their ability to also support the government in mobilizing those revenues by way of them paying their share of taxes,” explained CARTAC’s Princess Scott.
She continued , “So, in that exchange …a citizen contributes, a business contributes, etc. to the economy, likewise, the government need to ensure it’s harnessing the right climate, the right investments and looking at areas for strengthening capacity to move the key pillars of the economy forward.
Scott asserted: “One of those key pillars of course is the Inland Revenue Department of Saint Lucia in terms of the vital role that (it) plays in mobilizing revenue for the Government of Saint Lucia to enable the national agenda to be funded.”
She added that the objective of the workshop was to strengthen the IRD’s reform management capacity and identify key knowledge gaps in the development of the IRD’s 3-year strategic plan.
“So, we looked at what we call that broad strategic framework and what are those pillars that will enable IRD to move forward, not just the vision, not just the mission, but those softer core values that will actually ensure (are) felt at every point of contact,” noted Scott.
The comptroller indicated that among the strategic objectives of the Inland Revenue Department is the constant improvements to the tax filing system making the process easier and more accessible to taxpayers.
She stated, “And we want to just encourage persons at this time, we’re close to the filing period, to file online. It is one of the better ways to file and come into our department, go onto our website and see how well our online filing system can work for you.”