July 12, 2021 - 659 views

The Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) re-opened its branch in Southern Highlands Province (SHP) on Friday (9 July) after 4 years. The IRC Mendi office was closed during the political violence in 2017.

Since then, all SHP based taxpayers had to travel to Mount Hagen to comply with their tax obligations. The new office will now be situated at the Imbongu District Headquarters, Walume, SHP. 

The opening ceremony was hosted at the Imbongu District Headquarters, attended by local Member and Minister for Inter-Government Relations, Hon Pila Niningi, IRC Commissioner General, Mr Sam Koim, other dignitaries, and the public. 

In his keynote speech, the Commissioner General acknowledged and thanked Hon Niningi and his District Administration for allocating office space and a staff house at the district headquarters. 

Mr Koim said IRC did make arrangements to reopen the office in Mendi but according to IRC’s assessment, the law and order situation is yet to improve. 

There was an office space identified by the provincial government but was not suitable for IRC. The alternative was to rent an office space and to do that would take more than two years for the Government Office Allocation to approve. 

“I do not have the luxury of 2 to 3 years to simply wait around for such bureaucratic red tape to be completed."

"We have taxpayers who are travelling all the way to Hagen to meet their tax obligations and that is very burdensome."

"We had to establish a centre in SHP at a peaceful location, shorter in distance than Hagen, and Imbongu is suitable. In my experience, the setting up of office in SHP was achieved in a very short space of time because the District has generously provided the office and staff accommodation.” Mr Koim added. 

Minister Niningi thanked IRC for choosing Walume and assured them that the office and staff will be looked after by his people.

Walume currently boasts a National and Supreme Court complex, community development centre, police station, and other office spaces available to host national government functions. 

The Commission will present the new SHP office with a new Toyota Land Cruiser next month for officers to undertake compliance work in the province. 

The office is connected to the internet, SIGTAS tax system, and reliable electricity to operate.

With the establishment of SHP branch, IRC now has two provinces yet to reach. IRC’s strategic intent is to establish branches in all the provinces by the end of this year to reduce the burden of compliance on the part of taxpayers.



Sam Koim, OBE

IRC Commissioner General 


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