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GRA announces tribunal to curb tax evasion

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By Omar Bah

The Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority has announced the appointment of a new chairman to spearhead the administration of a tax tribunal to be launched soon.

Yankuba Darboe was addressing journalists yesterday at GRA’s end-of-year press conference where he highlighted the successes and challenges registered by the authority in 2023 and its plans for 2024.

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The Gambia government has tasked the GRA to collect over D19 billion in 2024, a significant rise from last year’s D15 billion.

CG Darboe said the authority, as part of means to ensure it achieves that target, will employ tough measures to ensure all businesses pay their required taxes and on time. He said no business will be spared for failing to pay its rightful taxes.  He urged the country’s businesses to be transparent in their tax declaration to avoid facing penalities as he announces the inauguration of a tax tribunal soon.

“I urge all businesses to cooperate with us to avoid having issues with us,” CD Darboe said.

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GRA was tasked to collect D15.2 billion w in 2023 which represented a growth of 19 percent from the 2022 revenue target.

CG Darboe said the authority, as of 31st December, collected D15.756 billion, registering a 4 percent above the target and a 23 percent revenue performance growth when compared to the 2022 revenue performance.

“This revenue performance is attributed to a substantial nominal growth of 36 percent in international trade or in absolute terms D2,239,480.01 and an impressive 11 percent growth for domestic taxes or an absolute variance of D735,441,739.75 when compared to the 2022 revenue performance for both departments. Throughout 2023, the GRA successfully implemented a series of reforms and strategies to enhance efficiency, transparency and optimize its revenue collection processes.” The introduction of the Asycuda World, CG Darboe added, contributed immensely to the revenue performance for international trade.

He said the authority has also established a rental tax office in 2023 dedicated to administering rental income to leverage on the growing number of rental properties in the country. “The rental income tax in its first year collected the sum of D72.32 million, representing an impressive growth of 87 percent when compared to the previous year. He said the authority also introduced an IT solution for excisable goods, telecoms service and refined fuel through a PPP arrangement.  “Also, in 2023, the authority signed another PPP contract for the implementation of the Single Window platform, e-tracking and digital weighbridge, whose implementations are currently underway, and we are hopeful that this IT solution will enhance trade and improve revenue administration,” he said.

2024 reform plans

In 2024, CG Darboe added, the authority is committed to further reforms and digitalisation to expand the tax base, facilitate trade and enhance compliance.

“We will implement digital excise stamps for excisable goods starting from January 2024 and also introduce fuel marking by March 2024. We are also on the verge of introducing a rental income mobilisation system to aid the collection of rental income tax and improve the compliance mechanisms for taxpayers. A significant milestone in 2024 will be the implementation of the revenue assurance system for the telecoms sector by mid-year 2024, along with the introduction of a web-based integrated tax administration system (ITAS) to automate the domestic tax collection system,” he said.

He said the auothority also aims to conduct a comprehensive service delivery survey to gather feeback from the general public, taxpayers and businesses on the services it renders with a view of making improvements in its operations and relations with the taxpayers and business community.

CG Darboe assured the public and the government of GRA’s commitmemnt to achieving the D19.2 billion revenue target for 2024.

Read more on the press conference tomorrow.

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