By Omar Bah
The Gambia Revenue Authority, GRA, recently ended a two-day regional tax seminar sensitisation forum in Essau for over twenty businessmen and women drawn from various communities in the North Bank Region.
According to GRA officials, the sensitisation forum which was held at the Essau Health Centre conference hall, is part of their attempt to educate and sensitise the general public on their administered taxes.
Participants at the forum were sensitised on personal or individual business income tax, chargeable income computation, who is liable to pay individual business tax, objections and appeals of tax decisions among others.
GRA director of management service, Alieu Bittaye, speaking at the forum on behalf of the GRA Commissioner General, said the meeting was organised to sensitise and educate taxpayers and the business community about GRA laws.
He said the seminar was special in many aspects “given the fact that it brings together business communities at the local level whose participation will facilitate tax compliance”.
“Given the fact that GRA is a merger of two government institutions of customs & excise and central revenue departments, it is justifiable for us to interact with the taxpayers, listen to their concerns relating to tax payment in The Gambia and find solutions to those concerns,” he said.
He said the forum gives “great hope and confidence, given the possible impact that will be generated from the networking with the various regional administrators and the business communities where they are coming from”.
The forum, he said will also help in the modernisation of the tax systems and improved reforms recently undertaken by government “aimed at promoting macro-economic stability, improving revenue mobilisation, promote efficiency in resource allocations” among others.
The forum is also part of series of programmes being undertaken with key stakeholders in the country to deepen understanding and improve compliance.”
He added: “It is our hope that the participants will continue to support the implementation of the government’s tax reforms for the nation building.”
Bittaye also called on the business owners to continue engaging GRA whenever the need arises. He extolled the government and UNDP for their support and collaboration on the implementation of the country’s tax reforms.
The GRA tax compliance director, Matty Njie-Senghore, called on the business sector to always consult the GRA on any difficulties they are facing in regards to tax and its related issues.
She said if collaborations between the taxpayers and the tax collectors is smooth the difficulties faced in the areas of tax would be the thing of the past, “I just want to emphasis that taxpayers have no cause to fear GRA, because we are partners.”
Meanwhile, the health regional director for the region, Sutay Drammeh, said the importance that is attached to paying tax couldn’t be overemphasized “given the importance it has on the country’s economy.”
He called on the participants to extend the knowledge they gathered from the forum to those who could not participate.