By Fatoumatta K Jallow
The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), on Tuesday 20th March 2018, commenced a two day seminar on the payment of Tax with Local Regional Authorities at the Governor’s office in Brikama. The Seminar is part of GRA’s attempt to educate and sensitize the general public on the type of tax they administer.
The forum brought together Regional Authorities and the business community, who’s participation could significantly enhance tax compliance at this level.
Bakary Sanyang, the Governor of the West Coast Region said the importance of the tax seminar cannot be over emphasized. “We are talking about tax payment from the largest population of taxpayers in this country,’’ he said.
He said the GRA program is strictly on taxpayer education, and that the seminar will enlighten participants on what taxation is all about and how important it is to pay tax, their rights and obligations as taxpayers.
“Payment of tax is one of the most important components in a country, if a country wants to develop and provide the necessary social amenities for the citizenry,’’ he said; that without tax, government cannot provide for the citizenry. He urges participants to be attentive on what is to be said and relay the message to their communities; that Government needs money more than ever, and urges taxpayers to pay their taxes for the development of the nation.
Yankuba Darboe, Commissioner General of GRA said the importance of the seminar is to sensitize, educate and share experiences with taxpayers and the business community, on the existing Revenue Laws administered by them and as well as their rights and obligations as taxpayers within these laws.
“This seminar is part of a series of programs being undertaken by the Authority with key stakeholders in the country, in order to deepen their understanding of the various tax types administered by them (GRA). He added that in January 2018, GRA in collaboration with the ministry of finance had undertaken reforms aimed at revising tax rates in some key revenue lines which includes among others, Rental Income Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Employment Tax and Individual Income Tax; that the duty rates on rice have been reduced from 10% to 0% among others. “ It is our hope that these reforms will accord people positive impacts on the living standards of the citizenry, and that you will continue to support the implementation of Government’s tax reforms for nation building,’’ he told participants.
“We value and appreciate your partnership and urge you to always engage us on matters of taxation, so as to engender greater understanding and appreciation of the issues,’’ he said.
Darboe revealed that the forum gives him hope and confidence that the seminar will further consolidate and cement the good cooperation between GRA, Regional Authorities and the Business Community, as this will go a long way in enhancing voluntary compliance, among others. Darboe thanked Mr Mam Sait Jallow, the CEO of Brikama Area Council for his continuous collaboration in fighting capital gains tax fraud. ‘‘We intend to sign an MOU very soon, to formalize this cooperation with the Councils. Similarly, GRA has experienced low compliance in the payment of rental income Tax. He added, “So we therefore solicit the support and collaboration of the regional authorities in this area as well”.