12 November 2012

Gambia: GRA/EU Workshop Validates Implementation of Value Added Tax

The Government of the west african nation Gambia, and the European Union validated the proposal to implement the value added tax in the Gambia on Friday 9th November in Banjul last night.

The European Union chargee d' Affaires Mme. Agnes Guillaud said the aim is to provide the EU business community in the Gambia and their Gambian counterparts with timely information on the introduction of VAT in the Gambia as at 1st January 2013.

She pointed out that the EU is supporting the Government of the Gambia in this important reform through its governance programme in the Gambia; noting that the said program would also support other public finance procurement and governance framework for public enterprises.

The European Union chargee d' Affaires Mme. Agnes Guillaud pointed out that the significant contribution of the European Union grants to assisting developing countries in building efficient, fair and sustainable tax systems and administrations.

"The Nexus between tax reform and the improvement of the business environment is critical in making it easier for businesses to invest trade and create jobs", said Madam Agnes Guillaud.

The IMF resident representative Meshack Tjirongo said this event marks a major milestone in the timetable to launch the VAT. Under ECOWAS commitments he said, the Gambian authorities intend to introduce VAT by January 2013 and this he said would be a key drive to the tax reform program in the Gambia.He added that the IMF technical assistance diagnostic mission in May 2010 found that revenue administration in the Gambia has undergone major reform and the formation of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) in 2006 provided a solid foundation for introducing best practices; noting that the recent tax administration provided a solid foundation for a successful VAT launch by January 2013.

Meshack Tjirongo further pointed out that the IMF mission designed a challenging but achievable 30-month program of tax policy reform and revenue administration and since then, a number of reform initiatives have been implemented with IMF technical assistance. He appealed to the EU again through the existing agreement to provide a short-term advisor to the new management of GRA.

The commissioner for domestic Taxes at Gambia Revenue Authority, Mr. Ensa Jallow presented the draft document which is the overview of VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) in the Gambia and explained how VAT is structured, who is required to be registered, who pays VAT, taxable goods and services, and exempted goods like basic commodities such as rice, sugar etc were all spelt out.

The Gambia has undertaken to implement VAT by January 2013 in fulfilment of its commitment under the ECOWAS VAT Protocol, and the objective is that all ECOWAS countries would harmonise their tax systems, including the introduction of Vat to replace sales tax according to the document presented by the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes in the Gambia, Mr. Essa Jallow.

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