Graft in IRC can stall development

Business, Normal

The National, Monday 30th July 2012

CORRUPT practices in the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) will cause a fall in revenue to fund development, IRC Commissioner General Betty Palaso said. 
Palaso, who was speaking from the perspective of IRC on corruption at the monthly economic and public Sector programme last Friday in Port Moresby, said when corruption was left to prevail in the commission, there would no revenue to fund development and economic activities.
IRC is responsible for the collection of most of Papua New Guinea’s tax revenue.
Palaso said the commission needs to make sure that all activities must be transparent, with no corrupt practices taking place to undermine its mission.
Palaso said the commission has a zero-tolerance policy on corruption in its work place, which is enforced from its most junior to senior IRC officers.
She said aside from undermining IRC’s mission, corruption will destroy taxpayer’s confidence on the agency’s ability to do the job.
She said the consequences of corruption on IRC would be as follows:
l    Reduction in revenue collection, which will directly affect the ability of the government to deliver on its mandate;
l    Loss of confidence in the tax collecting agency as this will encourage  staff to leave the agency and take the corporate knowledge with them;
l Loss of public confidence on the agency, which will result in taxpayers not paying their taxes; and
l Loss of staff confidence on the integrity of the agency, which would prompt them to leave the agency.
Palaso said the commission has put in place strategies which are part of its ongoing efforts to stamp out corruption.
These strategies included a mandatory awareness programme to teach staff on corruption and its consequence and providing avenues for their staff, tax payers, and the public in the form of contact details, email addresses, newspaper advertisements, and website information for them to know more about corruption, and also reporting it.
Other efforts to drive out corruption in the commission include the implementation of an integrated tax administration system to create link between all tax types, and the strengthening of the IRC governance framework.