Government spokesman Ebrima Sankareh last evening issued a release clarifying that the Finance Ministry did not unilaterally impose the new taxes as is being alleged.
The statement reads: “The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs wishes to inform the public that contrary to widespread allegations and confusion surrounding the new excise rates on alcoholic beverages, the tax is in fact, part of the 2019 Budget Appropriation Bill that was appropriately tabled and debated before the National Assembly during the 2019 Budget sessions.
Therefore, the Finance Ministry did not unilaterally impose new taxes as is being alleged besides those approved in the 2019 Budget Appropriation.
It was in this light that the Ministry through the approval of the National Assembly, revised the excise rates on domestic alcoholic beverages. These new tax rates came into effect in January 2019 and affect alcoholic beverages only.
Finally, the ministry wishes to further inform the public and the business community in particular, that it is more than committed to supporting businesses in overcoming challenges that affect their operations.
In the light of this and conscious of the significant role businesses play in the Gambian economy, the Finance Ministry has since been having fruitful talks with the National Assembly Select Committee On Trade and the sister Ministry of Trade to work out a lasting solution to this and similar matters. The Government of The Gambia wishes to thank the operators in the sector for their usual support and cooperation.”