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Friday, April 19, 2024

GRA CG says integrity will not be compromised

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By Omar Bah

GRA Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe has sent a strong signal to his staff and, more especially, tax collectors that the authority will not compromise the integrity and respect it has built over the past years.

The GRA is tasked by the government to collect an unprecedented D15 billion this year.

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Addressing customs officers during GRA’s board of directors nationwide tour of GRA offices in Tallinding, CG Darboe called for an ethical and transparent revenue mobilisation drive.

 “As staff and management of GRA, we should always endeavour to exercise good morals and respect for national duty. We should all serve as ambassadors for GRA and The Gambia at large. There should be no room for error,” he said.

The GRA has launched several technologies aimed at ensuring efficiency and transparency in tax mobilisation for it to be able to collect needed taxes.

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Commenting on the tour, CG Darboe said: “The reason for this tour is to connect the GRA board and management with the staff of the authority across the country. We want to receive firsthand information on your daily operations and challenges.”

He said at the level of the GRA management, they are constantly in contact with their staff across the country, but the board that is responsible for the policy arm of the institution has also made it a habit to visit all installations to ensure that they are doing well.

 “It is through their support that the management is able to address the challenges staff are facing across the country. All of you should be proud that the management and the board are regularly paying a visit to know how you are feeling,” he said.

Speaking at the GRA’s Seaport Office, CG Darboe acknowledged the important role the seaport plays in the authority’s tax mobilisation drive, saying almost 70 percent of the revenue collected comes from the seaport.

“That is why the seaport is so important for us. We cannot do anything without considering the seaport, so I want to urge all of you to redouble your efforts because, as you know, this year’s target is high and we need to do our best to meet it,” he added.

He said in January 2024 alone, GRA collected D1.7 billion and in February D1.4 billion.

“We are hoping that this month (March) we will supersede the other two months,” he added.

He also assured the staff of GRA’s commitment to continue on its tax digitalisation drive.

 “We have already installed a scanning system where all cargo is scanned to allow us to verify the actual weight of the cargo and the commodities they are carrying. Through that, we are able to do our calculations and get the right duties, and very soon we will start using the container detectors at the terminal. The idea is to eliminate all manuals,” he said.

CG Darboe added that all these initiatives will come at zero cost to taxpayers.

 “We are not asking anybody to pay extra money or give something that we don’t deserve. We are not increasing any tax rate,” he said.

The GRA board chair, Lucy Fye, commended all GRA staff and management for a wonderful job and assured them of the board’s continued support.

Alhagie Mbaye, Commissioner of Customs, commended the authority’s digitalisation process, saying it has not just increased revenue mobilisation but also improved the credibility of the GRA.

“It has ensured that revenue is maximised and all leakages are very tight. The seaport customs are also maximising the use of the Asycunda World,” he said.

He advised the customs at the ports to properly examine the usage of the Asycunda World as well as any transit that is going out of the port.

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