By Omar Bah
The Gambia Revenue Authority has met its 2021 tax collections target of D12.7 billion.
According to the Authority, it was able to collect D12.7 billion, as against a target of D13.5 billion projected in the 2022 budget.
The Commissioner General, Yankuba Darboe said the Authority came short of the targeted D13.5 billion because the government had given up about D3.6 billion on fuel subsidies and duty waivers in 2022 alone.
Commissioner Darboe attributed this achievement despite the global economic crisis to various initiatives such as the digitalization of Domestic Tax Revenue Division core processes.
He said when the authority realised that international imports were significantly affected by the Russia-Ukraine war which has lifted freight charges very high and resulted in lesser importation, they focused on a rigorous domestic mobilisation.
“In addition, the Asycuda World, which allows taxpayers to pay taxes online, banks and file returns in the comfort of their homes, have brought more transparency and efficiency into tax administration,” CG Darboe said.
The GRA boss said 2022 was a “very difficult and challenging year” due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.
“There was an increase of freight charges that impacted the value of containers coming to the country and the cost of goods also started going up. All that makes life very difficult for importers because it affects the volumes that they use to bring,” he said.
He said the war has also impacted the importation of certain goods from Ukraine which means there were lesser goods and that means lesser collection of revenue.
“The fuel prices have also affected the revenue collection. The government gives up over D1.6 billion on fuel subsidies to make the prices affordable for Gambians. Those are monies that we should have collected. The government also gives up about D2 billion on duty waivers for materials imported for the construction of roads such as the OIC Roads,” CG Darboe added.
Commissioner General Darboe said the Authority has already set itself a target of collecting D15.2 billion this year.
“We hope that the dynamics in the world will change and there will be peace and security in the world,” he said.
He extolled his staff for being supportive and proactive in achieving the goals set by the Authority last year.
“We share a very good mutual relationship and that helped us to stay on the same page. We all have the same interest of ensuring we achieve our goals and that has been the spirit over the years. I also want to thank the taxpayers because without them we would not have achieved our target. It is not easy to do away with money but they have done so willingly,” he said.
He said the Authority has many strategies and initiatives in the pipeline to ensure more effective revenue collection.