The Point (Banjul)

4 September 2014

Gambia: Good for GRA to Go Out and Explain

The sensitization and awareness-creation seminars being held by the Gambia Revenue Authority on its tax collection mandate are a useful exercise.

The exercise will enhance understanding and appreciation of why the GRA has to collect the taxes it collects.

This is important when we recall that the mayors have been complaining that they have been deprived of their traditional revenue-earning areas by the GRA and GT Board, among others.

Thus the need for such a forum to enlighten local authorities, on why it is important and necessary for central government to collect and receive all the revenue it could lay its hands on.

At a time when the government's national budget is soaring annually, and is now hovering around D8-9 billion, the GRA and other revenue collecting agencies have to rake in every dalasi, to enable the government meet its domestic commitments and international obligations such as debt servicing.

This sort of interaction with the local government authorities will help to enlighten them on why the central government needs the lion's share of all revenue.

Indeed, this awareness creation activity must be commended.

In interviews with the mayors of the municipalities of Banjul and Kanifing recently, they complained to this newspaper that the central government revenue agencies have encroached upon and grabbed some of their juicy sources of revenue.

They said this has left the area councils struggling to raise revenue to meet their own obligations.

Thus it became necessary for the GRA to explain that it has become necessary to go after and collect every dalasi in taxes, so that the government is able to continue paying salaries regularly; to be re-paying the country's debts in time and avoid defaulting; to maintain the embassies opened in all corners of the globe, and so on.

We note that the acting GRA commissioner-general when concluding his address at the KMC seminar on Wednesday urged the participants, "to participate fully to improve your knowledge and understanding on tax issues."

That is the essence of the exercise the GRA has embarked on!

"This sort of interaction with the local government authorities will help to enlighten them on why the central government needs the lion's share of all revenue".

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