New President of The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Edrissa Mass Jobe, who himself, a business tycoon has called for the need to ensure a transparent tax payment.
According to him, there is need to strengthen business not through rent-seeking but by fair competition and innovation.
"The two fair competitions of firms and innovation are sources of productivity which increase genuinely the wealth of nations," he said.
Mr. Jobe made these remarks during the Public-Private Sector Pre-budget Consultation meeting organised by the Ministry of Finance. The event was held at the Ministry of Trade and Industry last Thursday.
According to Mr. Jobe, the 2020 pre-budget consultation has an important budgetary process as it gives the government the opportunity to hear what is much important to the private sector in the 2020 budget.
Regarding high tax, Mr. Jobe said he is not complaining about the high tax because it is the businesses and government that benefit from it, noting that the burden of tax is basically on the community.
He highlighted that the community must be able to afford tax levy on them, saying they must ensure people are not poor in our society due to high taxes.
Mr. Jobe who described the consultation forum as very timely, said GCCI recognises the need to strengthen business not through rent-seeking but by fair competition and innovation.
He also called for the strengthening of government fiscal capacity, noting that a strong government is critical in creating a conducive environment for trade.
He said the application of tax should be more transparent, adding that the payment of tax for community, NGOs, GCCI, and government should be uniform.
"We have noticed a lot of transparency at Public-Private Sector Pre-budget Consultation meeting; and expect the transparency to be translated into the collection of taxes," he noted.
According to Mr. Jobe, there are lot of businesses registered in The Gambia and are not given the opportunity to participate in government tender.
He also called for value for business, value for community and value for government, adding that the most importantly thing is tax compliance.
He encouraged business to work with the government in ensuring they are contributing their quota to national development but not, through rent-seeking where big established businesses will be evading taxes. "We need to ensure businesses are well audited and pay their taxes".
Jobe also called on government to respect and give equal opportunity to all businesses when it comes to tendering, saying they should not encourage favouritism.