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GRA, Ecobank sign MoU

Feb 16, 2015, 10:06 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

Ecobank Gambia Limited and Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) on 13 February 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at a ceremony held at Ecobank’s main office on Kairaba Avenue.

The MoU would accord Ecobank customers the opportunity to be paying their taxes directly to Ecobank’s seven branches across The Gambia.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by senior officials and staff members of GRA and Ecobank including GRA acting Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe and the bank’s managing director Josephine Ankomah.

The MoU was signed to make it easier for taxpayers in the country to utilize Ecobank in paying their taxes and customs duties.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, GRA acting-commissioner general Yankuba Darboe, who doubles as the head of customs, expressed gratitude and appreciation to Ecobank for partnering with GRA in such development initiatives.

Re-emphasizing the fact that the Gambia government has been engaging in vital reforms on public service delivery, among other things, Mr Darboe said. “In line with this, the board and management of the GRA have a host of strategies geared towards trade facilitation and making tax collection effective, efficient, fair, and easy and at minimum cost for taxpayers.”

The GRA commissioner general (CG) stressed that utilizing commercial banks has many advantages some of which are offering taxpayers the option to pay taxes and customs duties at any of the Ecobank branches, and easing the burden on taxpayers on the need to travel all the way to GRA Headquarters in Banjul for payment, thus leading to saving cost and solving other constraints.

Mr Darboe reassured everyone that in its quest to facilitate payment procedures, the GRA’s board and management are committed to extending the scheme to all banks that satisfy their requirements.

The GRA acting-CG also urged taxpayers to commence utilizing Ecobank facilities for payment of taxes and customs duties.

He challenged the management of Ecobank to work steadfastly with GRA in nation-building efforts, to ensure payments received are remitted on time and that all aspects of the MoU respected.

The Managing Director of Ecobank Gambia Limited, Josephine Ankomah, said she was delighted about the two parties – GRA and Ecobank - signing the MoU.

“We consider this development a very significant milestone in our partnership with the GRA and the Government of The Gambia,” the new Ecobank Gambia MD stated.

“We at Ecobank are committed to providing accessibility, convenience and reliability to our valued customers and this partnership gives us another opportunity to actualize this mission,” she said.

MD Ankomah said further that provision of tax collection service to the GRA was not the first initiative Ecobank Group had undertaken with the Authority.

She asserted that over the years Ecobank has accumulated a wealth of expertise in the provision of tax collection and cash management solutions in their affiliates across Africa.

“Be assured that our well-trained staff and accessible branches are poised to provide efficient collection of payments from taxpayers,” she said.

She also stated that her bank’s professional treasury team would ensure funds collected are effectively managed and promptly transferred to the Central Bank on due dates.

“To facilitate the prompt reconciliation of your accounts, we will deliver daily statements, electronically, to your offices at the close of every business day,” the Ecobank MD said.

“We recommend to you our OMNI internet banking platform that allows you real time access to your accounts and enables you to move funds between your accounts with us at Ecobank or with other banks in The Gambia.

“We have put together a dedicated team, ready, willing and available to assist with any queries on this service.”

In further demonstration of their commitment to supporting your business and promoting financial intermediation within The Gambia it was worth noting that “all these services are being offered free-of-charge” to the GRA, she said.

She thanked the GRA board and management for availing Ecobank Gambia the opportunity, and for “the obvious vote of confidence in our capabilities and track record.”

MD Ankomah stated her appreciation to the Government of The Gambia and bank and financial regulators for their continued support and for creating and maintaining a business environment in the country that is conducive.

Chairman of GRA Board of Directors, Mamour Malick Jange, described the MoU as the second of its kind following the pilot MoU signed in May 2011 with Guaranty Trust Bank.

He said GRA is continually committed to improving its service delivery at all levels, and easing tax payments through the use of commercial banks is one of their strategic plans, which is in line with government’s reform agenda.

Head of Cooperate Banking at Ecobank, Kebba M.I.Gaye, in his remarks, said the signing of the MoU was another development in the history of the cordial relationship between Ecobank Gambia and the Gambia government, in particular the Gambia Revenue Authority.

Mr Gaye added that the event was another very important step for the bank in the provision of services to all their existing and prospective customers.