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Government intensifies efforts to improve tax reforms

Oct 4, 2012, 1:41 PM | Article By: Yusuf Ceesay

The Gambia government made a commitment to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) and abolish sales tax by January 2013.

The rationale behind the initiative is to modernize and strengthen the tax system for improved domestic resources mobilization to support national development objectives.

It was against this backdrop that the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) yesterday convened a day-long sensitization exercise for stakeholders on the implementation of the new tax system.

The forum looked at how VAT will work, its collection and registration, among others.

Official says that the VAT is a modern indirect tax levied on the consumption of taxable supplies of goods and services at various stages of their production, distribution and import.

It is a more broad-based consumption tax than the current sales tax; it has no cascading effect and is good for the promotion of both domestic and international competition.

Speaking at the session, Ansumana Trawally, Commissioner General of GRA, said that the government of the Gambia has transformed the tax base for the Gambia. He noted that the President has opened a way to add value to our money.

“There are sub-regional countries that are enjoying VAT, Gambia has to have it,” said the GRA commissioner general

Mr. Trawally announced that “GRA was given the power to start to implement VAT,” while noting that they have embarked on a series of sensitization programmes on TV, radios but felt that was not enough; thus the need for such a program on what the implementation is about.

“Our desire is to promote the needed revenue by the state, on which you and I and the future leaders, and people in remote areas of the country will enjoy the funds. We need to build a good road network, schools and universities have to be sustained, but all this cannot be done without revenue. This is why we all have to welcome VAT; since we need to add more revenue on to what we are raising now.” said Trawally.

Speaking earlier, Essa Jallow, the Commissioner Domestic Taxes, said that the forum was an important opportunity to sensitize the public. He said, among others, that the purpose was to give an opportunity to interact with government institutions, ministries and departments.

“It is important that from this seminar we will be able to impart knowledge and understanding as part of the preparation process for the introduction of the VAT by January 2013.”

He said that it is clear that VAT is just to replace sales tax, and that there will be no justification for businesses to increase prices.

Moreover, under the VAT, the basic needs such as education, basic foods, nursing home services, unprocessed agricultural and aquaculture productions supplied by producers, among others, are not to be taxed, so as to ensure social protection.