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GRA spells out strategic plan 2015-2019

Jan 8, 2015, 10:20 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

According to the draft document of the GRA strategic plan for 2015 to 2019, the third Strategic Plan of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) comes at a time when the country is going through a turbulent situation such as the continuous depreciation of the dalasi against all major currencies, inflation, and high interest rates, as well as external factors like the Ebola epidemic in the sub-region.

The draft document indicates that the strategic plan period would cover the next general elections in The Gambia in 2016, which would coincide with the second year of the plan.

Having successful free, fair and peaceful elections in the country would provide the enabling environment for business to grow and attract more investments into the country, which would subsequently assure greater revenue mobilization for national development.

Maintaining government responsiveness to the needs of the taxpaying population would greatly contribute to improve compliance, as taxpayers could easily link their tax payments to the various government development projects and programmes.

The draft document stated that the current macroeconomic environment of The Gambia is challenging due to high interest rates, unstable exchange rates and rising governments debt portfolio.

The real GDP growth is projected to grow by 4.4% average growth for the strategic plan implementation period from 6.3 per cent growth in 2013.

The document also pointed out that in trying to curb the challenges; the government has planned to reduce net domestic borrowing to half percent of GDP a year from 2014 onwards in order to reduce the already existing pressures to finance the long-standing public debt.

In order to meet these targets, there are even greater pressures to mobilize adequate domestic tax revenues to fund government-increasing appetite to spend.

The global economic recovery is still faced with challenges, arising from the Euro Zone debt crisis among other threats.

This means that the region faces growth prospects with risks, and a weakening global economy undermines strong growth projections especially by weakening export growth forecast, the report said.

On the regional front, the debate is dominated by the signing of the EPA with European Union, in which all ECOWAS member states would be binding to the agreement once signed, and the implementation of the Common External Tariff in which all trade tariffs in all ECOWAS states are harmonized to establish a free trade area.

As part of the environmental scanning exercise, GRA carried out a PESTEL analysis to examine the impact of the environment in which GRA would operate.

The PESTEL framework is a tried and tested environment-scanning tool, categorizing environmental influences as political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal forces.

The analysis examines the impact of each of these factors on the business, and thus allows strategic planners to identify and take advantage of opportunities and prepare plans to guide against the threats.

According to the GRA document, there are five goals and objectives, the GRA intends to achieve in the next five years.

These include ensuring effective and responsive corporate governance, optimizing compliance with statutory revenue and non-revenue measures, enhancing the availability of competent human resources and modern infrastructure, implementing simplified modern business procedures and process and ICT systems, and creating and nurturing effective regional and local partnerships.

The draft plan document also has some strategic objectives, which include establishing a rigorous strategic management regime to accomplish the organization priorities, enhancing management beyond revenue to include other aspects of services and compliance, implementing an effective risk management framework, introducing effective linkages between tax and customs and with other stakeholders, and promoting an effective client services strategy.

The GRA would also work hard to ensure fairness in taxation decisions, implement robust human resource policies, formulate a staff development programme that supports the future priorities of the GRA, institute modern processes across all GRA departments, and automate business process and upgrade the IT system.