Yankuba Darboe, the Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority, has reaffirmed his office’s commitment to continue working towards meeting its targeted D13.3 billion revenue collection this year despite challenges.
Commissioner Darboe’s renewal of this commitment came a few days after the minister of finance told lawmakers there could be a significant gap in revenue collections this year due to various factors.
Speaking to The State of Affairs on QTV, CG Darboe said the minister is right about the current challenges facing revenue collection however “our target for this year is D13.3 billion and we are doing our utmost best to make sure that happens. We are struggling but I am sure we will get to that,” Commissioner Darboe told QTV.
The GRA collected an impressive D12.5 billion last year despite the Covid-19 impacting on the country’s economy.
CG Darboe however admitted and agreed with the minister that the global crisis has affected revenue collection seriously over the past years which has forced the authority to focus more on domestic revenue collection.
“Before the coming of Covid-19 and all these global problems the domestic revenue collection stood at 40% and the international import was 60% but that has changed significantly,” he said.
He said his institution is projecting domestic tax to reach 60% in the near future while international import revenue will drop to 40%.
He also highlighted one of the reasons revenue collections may drop is the huge subsidies government is granting to help Gambian citizens cope with the daily economic challenges that are facing nations across the globe. “Last month alone, July, government forego revenue of up to D300 million in subsidies and in fact the total subsidies from January to now is up D1.3bn. So you see among other things, the subsidies would mean a drop in revenue collection. Notwithstanding, when you’re assigned a job you continue to strive to meet your target and that is what GRA is doing and will continue to do,” Mr Darboe said
He added that the other challenges GRA faces have to do with some businesses which don’t keep proper records of their transactions.
“Some businesses don’t want to keep proper records and even those that keep records don’t want to pay on time and we have others who don’t want to come forward and pay,” he lamented.
He said the authority has less problem dealing with structured businesses but they always have major issues with smallholder businesses. “But we are working on mobilising efforts to address all those issues and I am sure gradually we will get there,” he said.
Commissioner Darboe said some businesses also do confuse the GRA with Area Councils.
“But we are completely different entities and we try to make them understand these things,” he said.