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Importers warned to be transparent in disclosing tax obligations or face punishment

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By Omar Bah

The Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority has issued a strong warning to clearing agents and importers to disclose in full their tax obligations or there will be serious penalties for anyone found wanting.

Addressing a training of clearing agents and importers on the Authority’s revised Post Clearance Audit (PCA) rules, regulations and customs operations yesterday, Yankuba Darboe said the important role taxes continue to play in the running of government has made it prudent for the GRA to exercise uncompromising stand against tax invaders.

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“If you are hiding there and doing business refusing to pay your taxes, I advised you to come out from your hideout because no matter how long you attempt to invade tax, we will get you and that end result will not be good so let us join hands and do what is right,” CG Darboe tensely said.

He said the Authority will “do everything humanly possible” to make sure they collect the needed revenue and expect its stakeholders to give them correct information.

“We want the relationship to be genuine and based on transparency and accountability. We will not cheat on you but we don’t expect you to cheat on us. What we expect from you is to submit your original documents when it relates to invoices and bills of lading. If you do that, you will not have any issue with the GRA but otherwise we will come after you,” he added.

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Commissioner Darboe informed the clearing agents and importers that with the presence of the Asycuda World they don’t even have to come to GRA for their declaration and payments.

“You can upload your documents and do your declaration and after make your payment without having an eye contact with the GRA staff. But we expect you to do this with honesty and respect to the rule of law. If you do all that correctly, then you have no issues at the port. So, to make things easy for all of us, submit to us genuine documents,” he added.

This, he added, will also put “you along the most compliance stakeholders which comes with a recognition by the GRA during our Taxpayers Award Night”.

“Also, as an added advantage you will be given a Special Concession at the port to exempt you from going through all the exhaustive process of clearance. We will give you the opportunity to clear your goods without any delay so the PCA has come to help you out but you have to also help yourself. If you play the game by the rules, you are saved because even in the game of football players are required to respect the rules and failure to do so they are punished,” he noted.

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