By Omar Bah
The Gambia Revenue Authority, GRA yesterday commenced a two-day sensitisation program for the students of the Gambia Hotel School on its mandate and revenue laws. The sensitisation event was funded by the UNDP through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.
The objective of the seminar is to enlighten the students on the mandates of GRA and its various tax systems it administers and some of the key reform initiatives.
Addressing the event on behalf of the Commissioner General, GRA head of corporate affairs, Ousman Bah said the seminar is targeting one of the key tertiary institutions in the Gambia.
“As you may be aware, before the global pandemic, the COVID 19, the hotel industry is amongst the top industries in which a significant amount of revenue is collected by GRA, particularly value added tax however today the industry has suffered a significant drop in the number of tourist arrival in the country. “With the aforementioned it is important that students and also future employees of the Hotel industry, are exposed to the fundamentals of taxation, taxpayer’s obligations and rights which is key to revenue mobilization and compliance management,” Mr Bah said.
He said the seminar is part of GRA’s strategic plan 2020-2024, Goal 2, to optimize client service delivery for improved customer relation and corporate image.
“In simple terms to engage, educate and sensitize all stakeholders to enhance their understanding about the significance of tax revenue and its contribution in the national development programmes,” he added.
He added that the GRA Taxpayers Charter launched in April 2022 defines taxpayer’s rights and obligations under the income & VAT Tax Act (2012), customs and Excise Act (2010) and other revenue laws administered by the Authority.
“It also specifies the Authority’s legal obligations under these laws and brings in transparency in the tax service which promotes tax compliance. During the deliberations in this Seminar, the facilitators will enlighten you more on the Charter to deepen your understanding,” he stated.
He said the authority also launched the ASYCUDA World to facilitate international trade and E-services to ease its duties.
“The ASYCUDA World is a web enabled system which can be accessed remotely by stakeholders of the international trade supply chain to process their clearance of goods. Similarly, the Authority is also in the process of implementing the integrated Tax Management system to digitalize the payment of domestic tax revenue,” he added.
For his part, the deputy director general of the Gambia Hotel School, Mommodou Singhateh said: “It is indeed a very significant moment for us to have our students exposed to this kind of national exercise that intends to provide the required information that is needed by every citizen.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the management of the Gambia Revenue Authority and their collaborative partner the ministry finance and economic affairs for coming up with this laudable initiative that intends and has amongst its objectives the need to sensitize this institution on tax payment,” he added.