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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Action Man promises ‘radical changes’ at BCC if elected

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By Alagie Manneh

Pragmatic second republic politician and seasoned diplomat, Bala Garba Jahumpa who last week announced he will contest for mayor of Banjul, has said he will deliver “radical changes” at the BCC if elected.

These radical changes he said will have to do with the financial transactions of the BCC.

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Speaking in an audio obtained by The Standard, Action Man said: “As you currently know, councils’ local taxes are collected by what you call council tax collectors. I believe this practice is outdated. The best practice that we will use at the Banjul City Council if elected, is to assess taxes to be credited or paid into a bank account, whether it’s a central bank or other commercial banks in this country.”  

“For example, this is currently utilised by the Gambia Immigration Department, in regards to the biometric passports and IDs.  The GID does not handle any money; the application form is purchased at Ecobank,” he said.

He said similar payment method can be introduced at the BCC, where, if elected, he promised to open a tax revenue account with the banks for individuals to pay their tax dues.

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He said the system will also allow for the re-assignment of the former tax collectors who should not lose their jobs.

“The former tax collectors can be now re-assigned as tax inspectors where their new roles will be to engage individuals owing taxes that are due to the council. They will go round inspecting receipts to ensure that entities and individuals comply with their tax obligations,” he highlighted.

Harping further on his transformative agenda, Action Man, as he is fondly called, said he will institute a data-based system of tax administration where all entities and individuals assessed with tax obligations will be registered and their assessments done through a digital system.

“These individuals or entities can log into any computer and access information about their tax liabilities and obligations and when their taxes are due for payment. They can also track their payment schedule. This I believe, will eliminate the leakages, [and] will eliminate tax evasion and of course, eliminate corruption within the municipal and local government councils.”

Buttressing his points, he asserted that there are evidences that taxes uncollected in the BCC and in other local councils may be equal or even more to taxes collected.

He said that is due primarily to an “inefficient, and ineffective tax administration”.

“Therefore,” Mr Jahumpa said, “these new systems will increase the revenue base of the Banjul City Council deliberately.”

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