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CG Darboe says Gambia’s stable political environment provides hope

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By Omar Bah

The Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority, Yankuba Darboe, has said the country’s economic policies and its stable political environment provide hope for the expansion of the revenue base.

The GRA boss was addressing the National Assembly’s Public Finance Committee while submitting GRA’s 2021 Activity Report and Financial Statement on Monday.

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He revealed tax administration efficiency, sound economic, political and trade policies as well as the continuous support of development partners will determine the revenue collection horizon of the Authority.

“The foregoing highlights the link between the performance of GRA and its internal and external environments. In pursuit of the creation of the right atmosphere for increased revenue mobilisation, the GRA continues to constructively engage its stakeholders within and outside the country,” he said.

Mr Darboe added that in 2021, the GRA was set a revenue performance target of D12,793,761,035, which anticipated a nominal growth of 8.35 percent, or D985,835,975 over the 2020 actual revenue collection of D11,807,925,060.95.

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He said the Authority collected a total revenue of D12,741,786,836.18 in 2021, which translated into 100 percent of its annual target. Compared to the total revenue collected in the corresponding period in 2020 of D11,807,925,060.95, the total revenue collected in 2021 represented a nominal growth of D933,861,775.23, or 8 percent.

The attainment of the 2021 revenue target by GRA equals the 9th time in ten years from 2012 to 2021,” he said.

He said, disaggregated by departments, the Customs and Excise Department’s total revenue collection for the year 2021 totaled D7,093,234,506.07.

“This total collection for CED represented a 94 percent performance rate against the department’s annual revenue target of D7,538,528,525. The performance of international trade receipts in 2021 was negatively affected by many factors. These included the significant increase in freight charges globally (more than 200%), high international commodity prices, increased ship handling charges, the COVID-19 pandemic, duty waivers (D2.062 billion), fuel subsidies and the negative impact of uncertainties and speculations around the Presidential Elections,” he said.

He said all these factors led to more than a 35 percent drop in import volumes of essential commodities and a 5% drop in their corresponding values, on which import tariffs are applied.

“However, despite the shortfall against the revenue target of the year in 2021, the department’s relative performance represented a nominal growth of 5 percent, or D347,119,990.06 compared to 2020,” he said.

He said the Domestic Taxes Department (DTD) total revenue collection for 2021 was D5,648,543,330.11, which represented D393,310,820.53, or 7 percent excess above the annual target.

“This represented a nominal growth of 12 percent, or D586,741,785.17, when compared to the 2020 annual collection of D5,061,801,544.94. The DTD total collection equals 44 percent of the total revenue collected by the GRA in 2021,” he added.

CG Darboe said the GRA will continue on the path of engaging its friends and development partners, such as the IMF, the World Bank, AfDB, UNDP, AFD, WCO, GIZ, ECOWAS, ATAF, CATA, WATAF, CATA, WTO, and WHO, in continually improving our systems and procedures for effective tax administration in The Gambia as well as sharing best practices.

He assured the lawmakers that GRA will continue to facilitate the payment of taxes due to the government in the most conducive environment and at minimal compliance cost to taxpayers. “In doing so, we solicit the support of the government and the National Assembly Members in making adequate resources available and in enacting or amending laws that can help the GRA deliver on its mandate,” he said.

He commended the government through the ministry of finance for its continuous support and encouragement.

“We also wish to thank, in particular, President Adama Barrow and his entire government for creating an enabling environment for businesses to establish and grow,” he said.

Lucy Faye Jagne, the GRA board chairperson, said the GRA, having been operating as a single revenue administration since 2007, continues to account for most of the government recurrent budget on an annual basis.

“The average annual revenue growth for the period 2007–2021 stood at 11%,” she said.

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