By Joseph Milton Lebbie………………………………..
The main opposition SLPP firebrand Member of Parliament for Constituency 069 in the Bo District, Hon. Paran Tarawalie, has accused the Ministry of Transport and Aviation of levying an illegal tax of 40 US Dollars as Security Check Tax on travelers leaving and entering the country.
He made the accusation yesterday while speaking over Radio Democracy 98.1 in Freetown.
Hon. Tarawalie described the tax as illegal as it was imposed without Parliamentary approval, an act which he said, violates Section 110 of the Sierra Leone Constitution.
The MP made it clear that Parliament is the only supreme body that has the Constitutional mandate to levy taxes on the people of this country.
He warned the Transport Ministry not to go ahead with the collection of the illegal tax which is to take effect on the 1st June, 2017 otherwise he vowed to raise a motion in Parliament to summon the Transport Minister, Leonard Balogun Koroma, to explain why the Ministry has violated the national constitution.
Hon. Tarawalie further alleged that the imposition of the 40 USD illegal tax could not be unconnected to a debt of 8.5 million USD the government owes to the airport security company, Securiport.
The MP continued that what has worsen the situation is the fact that the 2017 Finance Act also imposes another 40 US$ tax on travelers leaving and entering the country, so, the imposition of another 40 US$ by the Transport Ministry will now cause travelers to be expending 80 USD on taxes alone.
In his response, the Transport Minister, Leonard Balogun Koroma, said the imposition of the 40 US Dollars tax on travelers is a Cabinet decision that does not need Parliamentary approval and assured that come June 1st this year, the Transport Ministry will start collecting the tax from travelers flying in and out of the Lungi International Airport.