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GRA tasks GTBank with tax, duties collection

Apr 5, 2011, 3:08 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

In a bid to boost its revenue collection activity more effectively, the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Guaranty Trust Bank, paving the way for tax payers to pay their taxes and duties payable to GRA at any of the GTB's 13 branches in the Greater Banjul Area.

As from 3rd May 2011, taxpayers will be able to pay their taxes and duties at GTB's branches through a GRA dedicated Teller Point manned by a GRA revenue collection process trained cashier.

Speaking at the signing ceremony held at GRA head office in Banjul yesterday, Bakary Sanyang, Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority, said the process started three years ago and the signing of the MoU between the GRA and GTB is the beginning of a six-week pilot project with the bank.

According to him, the expansion of one bank alone would not be sufficient to handle all GRA tax payers, and he stressed the need for other banks to come forward as soon as possible to partner with the GRA.

"We have our tax payers across the country and probably the expansion of one bank alone would not be sufficient to handle all GRA tax payers, and we at GRA are calling on other banks in the country to come forward as early as possible to talk to the GRA IT department on the matter," he said.

He underscored GRA's commitment to expand its services to the doorsteps of all tax payers, since its inception.

Lekan Sanusi, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, described the signing as a key development in the history of private and public sector partnership, with a view to enabling the GRA to discharge its core mandate of revenue collection more effectively, while utilizing a private sector channel to put convenience at the doorsteps of tax payers.

"This kind of public-private sector collaboration in revenue collection has become the trend in most countries, and its adaptation has assisted most countries to improve their tax administration, especially the collection activity and hence an optimization of the tax revenue," Sanusi noted.

The GTB boss reiterated his bank's commitment and readiness to surmount all huddles to make this scheme a success for the country.

"GTBank group has the experience, as we have been collecting taxes and duties on behalf of the federal and state tax collection agencies in Nigeria for years," he added.  

Alieu Bittaye, Director of Finance Management Services GRA, gave a detail explanation of the scheme.

In attendance were officials from the finance ministry, Central Bank of the Gambia, GRA, GTBank and the National Audit Office.

Ousman Bah, Head, Corporate and Public Affairs at GRA chaired the ceremony