By Tabora Bojang
President Adama Barrow has said his government is seriously committed to reducing dependence on foreign aid by enhancing domestic tax collection means to fund development targets.
He also argued that high-level aid dependence puts receiving countries in complex situations due to interference in their internal affairs.
Addressing crowds in Nuimi at the start of his meet the people tour, the president said to ensure that this is achieved taxes for certain public services such as passports, hospital consultations and on compound transactions will be increased in 2024.
“All countries that develop do so whereby citizens pull their own resources together to support national development efforts by paying their taxes. I want Gambia to follow that trajectory. We have looked into it and see that every year we generate D5 billion on some of these revenue sources, and out of that D5 billion external donors help us with D3 billion but whenever they [donors] offer help and you want to do this and that, they will tell you no this is what we want you to do and that causes serious challenges. Some development aid partners came to the country recently and said I should halt the pace of development because it is too much.
They said I should stop constructing roads because Gambia cannot afford to fund these projects on our own. This is why if you put your trust in someone else to come and develop your country for you, then you will be a slave to him or her and we want to cut that shackle of slavery. That is why we are going to increase our taxes in this coming year  so that our collection can reach D10 billion. If we have 10 billion, whether or not the one giving you 3 billion comes or not, you can continue your work,” President Barrow said.