#Article (Archive)

On GRA new measures amid Covid-19 lockdown!

Apr 2, 2020, 11:32 AM

Tax is an integral component in any nation’s development. It is more than just a source of revenue and growth.

In a nutshell, it plays a key role in building up institutions, markets and democracy through making the state accountable to its taxpayers. Thus, stronger and cleaner tax systems help development initiatives in any community or state at large.

It is true that developing countries need aid and will continue to do so, but they can also use it to help strengthen their tax capacity, increase their autonomy and reduce their long-term dependence on external assistance.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has hit global economies, which in fact appears to be heading to an unchartered territory. It’s being reported in the news that due to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus (covid-19) worldwide, the management of The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has taken a giant step in its bid to support taxpayers in the country. The move is not only commendable, but came in as timely, taking into account that communities are struggling to come to terms amid Covid -19 outbreak, coupled with the public state of emergency.

What is more alluring is the fact that the authority has taken a broader move to downsize its staff capacity per WHO recommended safety measures. In addition, it has also extended the deadline for the filing of the 2019 annual tax return and the payment of final 2019 tax for two months. These are all laudable moves considering the tight and stiff condition many households and even institutions are currently working under.

Another important move is the Authority’s resolve to support government in the fight against the spread of the deadly pandemic in the country. The government needs more support now than ever and GRA and other institutions coming on board to support government is indeed commendable. We hope other institutions would emulate them, as government can’t do it all alone, thus the need for partnership.

The authority in a release has also suspended all field compliance enforcement activities. However, it is also appealing to those who are able to file and pay their taxes on time, despite the challenges, to do so to help support government during these difficult times.

“Money is not real. It is a conscious agreement on measuring value.”

John Ralston Saul