The revenue expected to be collected by the Gambia Revenue Authority is expected to grow from D5.2B in 2013 to D5.8B in 2014, representing 12 percent increment, the commissioner of Domestic Tax, Essa Jallow has disclosed.
Speaking at a tax seminar supported by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) at the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) chambers Wednesday, Jallow said this revenue growth requires extending compliance to all taxpayers. He said the more taxpayers understand their obligations, the better the level of compliance, which will positively impact on national revenue mobilisation efforts to improve the economic and social conditions in the country.
The commissioner said The Gambia depends mainly on taxes to finance its developmental programmes and projects, provide public goods and services for the attainment of national objectives, hence the importance of paying taxes. "It is not difficult to provide a justification for paying taxes in The Gambia," he said. "Since the advent of the July 22nd Revolution under the leadership of His Excellency Sheikh Prof. Alh. Dr. Yahya Jammeh Nasirul Deen Babili Mansa, The Gambia has witnessed an unprecedented rate of development across all sectors of the economy.
We have enjoyed a rapid increase in the number of schools, hospitals, roads and electricity. We have also seen an improved security, reduction in both infant and maternal mortality rates, more investments in youth development, agriculture; to name just a few. These public investments cannot be realised and sustained if those who are supposed to pay tax continue to ignore their obligations under the law. The first and foremost sign of patriotism is to honour national obligations in all its forms and manifestations. One such obligation is to support the government's drive to mobilise tax revenues to put the state's machinery at work".
Speaking earlier, the acting commissioner general of GRA, Yankuba Darboe, said the forum was meant to educate and sensitise the general public on taxes, noting that the meeting will help facilitate tax compliance among the people. He reminded that the Value Added Tax (VAT) was passed into law by the National Assembly in June 2012 and became operational in January 2013, replacing the Sales Tax that was in existence for so many years.
Darboe explained that the objective of the Legal and Financial Management Refund recently undertaken by government is aimed at promoting macro-economic stability, improved revenue mobilisation; promote efficiency in source allocation, amongst others.
He said given that the Kanifing Municipality has attracted a significant number of businesses in all sectors, GRA deemed it prudent to concentrate on tax compliance efforts within the Municipality as part of the strategy to maximise the collection of revenue. The acting CG disclosed that the taxes GRA mobilises provide funding for more than 80% of the national budget.
The deputy mayor of KMC, Momodou Jaiteh, described the forum as timely, and reminded that his Council is equally mandated to collect tax and plough back to its payers.