GCCI CEO calls for tax reduction as he calls 2020 difficult year

Dec 8, 2020, 10:39 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The chief executive officer (CEO) of Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Alieu Secka, has lamented on the negative impact that COVID-19 has had on the business community.

He cited that 2020 has been a devastating year for all particularly the business community. “Therefore, as a result of these consequences, there is need for government to consider and ensure a reduction of corporate tax and payroll tax to enable businesses to recover their losses during the lockdown of the COVID-19.

He said 2020 has been very difficult year throughout the world, with various reports indicating that the world economy will shrink (3.6%).

“So it’s been a tough year but somehow with resilience and we survive from it. Unfortunately many have lost their jobs and incomes.”

“We will be hopeful now, with the emergence of new vaccine that we will be able to live with covid-19.

Despite the death of millions of people during the covid-19, we will still have to continue to survive out.”

He also tipped 2021 as a promising, bright year due to availability of the new vaccine recently, while hoping that life will come back to normal.

According to the CEO, the private sector also has few reform agenda to continue to work with the government and expressed hope to achieve it in the coming year.

He points out that access and cost of finance is still too high and “we are working through the National Business Council chaired by the Vice President with five other ministers and leading business private sector representatives to address it.”

He also lamented the access to energy, citing that it is still too high and often unavailable.

Talking on the trade barriers; the GCCI CEO said: “We need to continue to work with our partners in our neighbouring country and we hope that the Africa Trade Free Agreement will provide that opportunity.”

We have engaged the tax authorities through the direct use of the minister of Finance for the need for reduction on tax. We commend that the government have accommodated some tax delay, but our wish is that tax should be reduced to allow rain-space so that business can recover.”

“There is no doubt that The Gambia is a tax based economy, we need to continue to explore other avenues for the government to realise and generate income rather than taxation. We are hopeful that we can achieve this. We would really like the corporate tax and payroll tax to come down so that people can have more disposable income.” 

Highlighting on the private sector response during the Covid-19, the GCCI CEO commended them for responding positively to their calls. He said their support and contribution are immeasurable as far is national development is concerned.

He said during the Covid-19, the GCCI with the support and contribution of the private sector was able to refurbish the sanatorium to serve as a major treatment center for Covid-19. 

“Therefore, I commend the private sector and I’m grateful for their contribution towards the Covid-19 fight.” He equally acknowledged the UNDP’s support to ensure that one of the most sensitive and vulnerable institutions like Gambia Prisons Service (GPS) benefitted from a mini-van donation which was all geared towards protecting its staff from contracting coronavirus and adhering to the WHO guidelines.