By Omar Bah
The GRA commissioner general, Yankuba Darboe, has revealed that the authority has, despite the economic challenges facing the world, managed to collect over D4 billion in just four months.
He made this disclosure on the sidelines of a tax seminar organised by GRA for the Gambia Women Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
Commissioner Darboe however said despite this revenue collection “this year will generally be affected by the effects of Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war”.
He appealed to all taxpayers to commit themselves to paying their taxes in full and on time for the interest of national development.
“We are doing everything to avoid putting pressure on taxpayers because we consider them our friends, but we always remind them that no country can develop without its citizens paying taxes, especially a country like Gambia that relies on taxes for its development,” he said.
Cement importation and tax losses
On the threat by certain cement companies to stop producing cement because of the influx of Senegalese products which may affect its tax bills, CG Darboe said government cannot be blamed for that.
“When it comes to cement importation there are protocols that the government signed within the Ecowas called the ETLS which means those countries that have factories within the region are exempted from paying duty and the cement that is produced in Senegal coming to Gambia is exempted from payment of duty, eco levy and AU levy. The only levy we put on the cement coming from Senegal is the VAT and that amount is very small compared to the importation directly to the Gambia port coming from countries outside of Ecowas which are subjected to all the levies. So comparatively, if you bring a product from outside of West Africa you tend to pay more than if you get a product from Ecowas countries. This is the main difference.”
CG Darboe added: “That is how the international protocols are. Now if somebody said because of that you will end up paying less taxes well there is nothing GRA can do about that. But now there are other facilities that those companies are enjoying including duty waivers and special investment certificates which means they are exempted from paying duty or VAT. That is what the government can do.”
CG Darboe said the companies making complaints should rather focus on addressing the challenges they face in shipping their products into the country.
Commenting on the tax seminar, CG Darboe said the objective of the seminar is to enlighten the participants on the country’s tax system, the various revenue laws administered by the GRA and some of the key reform initiatives being implemented by the authority.
“The GRA strongly believes that the GWCC can play a pivotal role in the form of advocacy to influence its members and the business community on the importance of tax compliance which will go a long way to boost our revenue mobilisation efforts. We also hope this seminar will strengthen our continued collaboration to support the implementation of government’s tax reforms initiatives aimed at improving revenue collection for national development,” he said.