Nov 11, 2008, 5:24 AM
Senior officials of Skye Bank, GRA and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs attended the signing ceremony, held at the conference room of the bank on Kairaba Avenue.
The MOU has given Skye Bank Gambia Limited the responsibility and right to collect taxes on behalf of GRA for national development.
The undertaking would reduce the burden of taxpayers travelling far distances to pay tax at the GRA head office in Banjul.
In his welcome remarks at the signing ceremony, Skye Bank’s head of public sector affairs Ebrima Bah said: “We believe this is a step forward in our banking relationship with GRA in meeting our customers’ needs; as our aim has always been to be the leading and first-class commercial bank in the industry.”
Mr Bah commended GRA for according Skye Bank the opportunity to serve the nation further in the capacity of tax collection for national development.
Speaking at the MOU, GRA’s Acting Commissioner General Ensa Jallow said that through the leadership of President Yahya Jammeh, the Gambia government has been engaging in vital reforms aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery.
“In concurrence with this, the Board and Management of the GRA has various strategies targeting trade facilitationand making tax collection effective, efficient ,fair, easy and at minimumcost for the taxpayers,” Mr Jallow said.
According to Mr Jallow, having an MOU with commercial banks, and in this case Skye Bank, has “enormous advantages”, some of which are: offering taxpayers the option to pay taxes and custom duties at any of the Skye Bank Branches; easing the burden on taxpayers from the need to travel all the way to GRA’s Banjul Headquarters for payment, thus yielding cost savings; and mitigating the risk associated with travelling with cash to pay at GRA offices.
.The GRA acting CG further re-assured everyone that in GRA’s “unrelenting drive” to facilitate tax payment, “the Board and management are committed to extending this scheme [tax collection] to all the banks that satisfy our requirements”.
Mr Jallow also appealed to taxpayers to commence utilising Skye Bank’s facilities for payment of taxes and custom duties, to the management and staff of Skye Bank Gambia Limited.
He also encouraged Skye Bank to work “steadfastly” with GRA in contributing to nation building whilst ensuring that all aspects of the MOU are respected.
Speaking at the MOU signing, Skye Bank Gambia Limited Managing Director/CEO Doyin Adegbulugbe said his bank very much appreciated the opportunity given them to serve as a worthy partner to GRA’s tax collection efforts.
He then assured GRA and members of the public that Skye Bank would provide “excellent service” in the collection of taxes for The Gambia.
The partnership between his bank and the GRA is not limited to the MOU, MD Adegbulugbe said, adding that with time “Skye Bank shall work with GRA in many more strategic areas” that would make tax collection easy, as well as increase volume of tax collection, which is one of the goals of Skye Bank.
“Skye Bank is not only going to collect taxes but we want to be able to add value, to sit with GRA and make solution,” he said.
He further assured GRA that Skye Bank would make “remarkable” inroads and progress in tax collection in The Gambia.
In his remarks, GRA Finance Director Abou Saihou Denton commended Skye Bank for signing an MOU with them for national development.
He said the tax collection initiative is part of GRA’s corporate efforts and modern drive to reduce the problem of access to tax payment.
“Signing MOUs with banks like Skye Bank is a welcome journey,” Mr Denton said.
For his part, the chairman of the board of directors of GRA, Mamour Jagne, buttressed statements made by the previous speakers.
He also commended the two institutions for the partnership “which will go a long way in addressing the issues of travelling for long distances to pay tax at the GRA head office”.
Mr Jagne advised both parties to earnestly observe the MOU.