By Omar Bah
The commissioner general of the Gambia Revenue Authority has confirmed to The Standard yesterday that telecom giant Africell is the top tax payer.
CG Yankuba Darboe said the company pays over D100 million in taxes every month totalling over D1.2 billion annually.
The country is expected to be increasingly dependent on its taxes under a global crisis where grants hardly come by and loans are unsustainable.
Speaking exclusively to The Standard, CG Darboe explained: “I can tell you a lot of companies in the country are tax compliant but Africell is on top in terms of highest tax payers. We receive over D100 million every month from them as their tax obligation. These are different tax lines starting from corporate tax, exercise tax, VAT, among others.”
He said Jah Oil and others are also paying millions of dalasis every month even though they are pipped by Africell.
“Jah Oil used to pay roughly over D50 million a month when things were normal. But like I said, QCell, Atlas, the banks, Nawec, GPA and many other state owned enterprises are also paying their taxes on time though not as big as Africell, but they don’t joke with their taxes,” he added.
As indicative of the strides they have made in terms of collections, the GRA boss said his authority used to take the likes of Nawec and Gamtel to court to pay their taxes but that has changed.
“Now all these institutions have realised that they need to pay their taxes because without that the government cannot operate,” he noted said.
He said increasingly a lot of individuals are becoming “very compliant” with their tax payments.
“The truth is that no institution wants to part with its money. So I must thank those who are tax compliant for taking that bold step to fulfill their tax obligations to the country because without those monies being paid, the government will find it difficult to function. We are very grateful to all those companies and individuals who are coming forward to pay their taxes because it is a big sacrifice, But it is something that has to be done,” he emphasised.
Also speaking to The Standard, GRA Deputy Commissioner General Essa Jallow said the authority appreciates all the companies who are compliant with their tax payments and urged those who are still reluctant to change and become compliant.
“As a means of encouraging the taxpayers, we organised an awards ceremony every year to recognise the companies or institutions that are compliant with their tax payments. This is why during the last awards the president was invited to grace the occasion and interact directly with those important players in our economy,” Jallow said.
He reminded business owners and institutions that paying tax is a legal requirement that cannot be negated especially at a time when there is donor fatigue”.
“So, we encourage voluntary payment of taxes,” he concluded.