By Momodou Jawo
Yankuba Darboe, the Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has stated that a proper audit of telecom services will present opportunity for the Authority to further expand the tax base and help reduce the country’s dependence on international trade revenues.
This, he added, up to now contributes 55 per cent of total revenue receipts compared to 45 percent from domestic revenue generation.
Commissioner General Darboe made this remark at a local hotel in Senegambia during the opening of two weeks training targeting GRA tax auditors, staff from the sector regulatory authority (PURA) and Auditor General’s office.
The workshop on telecoms audit and regulator training, he added, could not come at a better time, as it is common among many revenue administrations; taxation of telecom services is one of the most challenging areas of work due to the large volume of transactions involved.
The GRA boss added that the training will expose their team of tax auditors to the requisite skills necessary to make sense out of large volumes of transactions generated by Telecom companies. He urged participants to take the training very seriously and make sure they share the knowledge gained from the training.
Mr. Darboe thanked the IMF/AFRITAC West 2 Office in Ghana for their continuous support to the Gambia Revenue Authority and thus promised to good use of the capacity building supports.
For his part, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Lamin Camara said sustainable development can only be achieved through sound policies and revenue administration capacity to maximise domestic resource mobilization.
The International Monetary Fund, he stated, has been partnering with GRA since its establishment with a view to putting the institution on a sound footing to deliver its mandate.
“I have no doubt that the participants will be exposed to best practices in administering taxes in the telecommunications sector. Considering the fact that this sector is the leading contributor to our domestic tax revenue it could not have come at a better time than now,” PS Camara stated.
The amount of transactions generated by this sector daily, PS Camara noted, is so voluminous thus the traditional audit methods will no longer be ideal. “Therefore specialized skills are required on how to analyse call data records in projecting the rights revenues receivable from the telecommunications sector.”