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GRA staff trained on tax laws, regulations

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By Omar Bah

As part of its transformation agenda, the Gambia Revenue Authority continues to train staff from different departments and units on revenue laws and regulations to improve efficiency in tax mobilisation.

Yesterday, a batch of 30 trainees commenced a five-day intensive training at the Senegambia Beach Hotel. The training, conducted by resource persons from the GRA legal and operational departments of customs and domestic taxes, is funded by the French Development Agency.

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According to GRA Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe, the objective of the training is to ensure that staff of the authority involved in the administration of revenue have a better understanding of the laws and regulations they administer.

“It is important for GRA staff to understand revenue laws they administer to enhance our relationship with taxpayers, especially those who are dealing directly with the taxpayers, importers and the general public. As revenue administrators, the general public rely on our knowledge of the tax laws for the fair and impartial interpretation and applications of those laws. This will ultimately build trust and confidence between the GRA and the business community and enhance taxpayers’ compliance. That is why management has included this training as a yearly activity in our 2020-2024 activity plan,” he said.

Last year alone, CG Darboe added, “under the same project we trained more than four hundred staff in four separate batches and I wish to thank the French Development Agency for their financial and technical support to enhance our reforms programs. We believe that enhancing the capacity of our staff will boost the competence and confidence of the business community.”

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He urged the trainees to take the training very seriously and seek clarity and explanation where necessary.

“We hope to see more efficiency and competence from you when you complete this training,” he said.

The Deputy Commissioner General and head of domestic taxes, Essa Jallow, said the training is meant to equip GRA staff with the requisite knowledge of the revenue laws administered by GRA.

“Key among them is the GRA Act, Income and Value-Added Act, Customs and Excise Act and other laws administered by the authority. They will also be taken through the regulations and all the legal frameworks that are in place to guide our day-to-day work. For some, this will be the first big opportunity that you have to really interact with our laws because it is very important that we create general awareness for all our staff regarding these laws,” he said.

Mr Jallow said the most important thing for a revenue officer is to master the laws and regulations that are in place to guide their work and decision making to be able to collect revenue for the state as prescribed by statute.

“The decisions we make on the job have to be consistent with the laws and regulations under our purview. These laws and regulations create rights and obligations for taxpayers so it is our responsibility to ensure that the intention of the legislators as prescribed in these laws are administered effectively. The rights are meant to be protected by us while the obligations are to be fully discharged by taxpayers failing which enforcement actions will be initiated,” he stated.

Jallow said revenue maximisation cannot be understood without the full maximisation of the laws.

“The most important resource of an organisation is the human resource because financial and material resources that are not combined with a highly trained and skill workforce cannot lead to successful reforms, increase productivity and efficiency hence management policy is to invest in our human resources,” he said. DCG Jallow also informed staff of the GRA that the compliance they are asking from taxpayers should start from them. 

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