GRA poised to introduce online business taxation 

Oct 4, 2021, 1:10 PM

Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has bemoaned his institution’s lack of experience to tax online businesses, saying Nigeria, unlike The Gambia is generating a lot of taxes from online businesses through internet programme. He, however, said plans are in the pipeline to tax online businesses.

According to him, digitalisation and technology are advancing everyday and that the GRA will not relent in its effort in putting all mechanisms in place through learning experience from other countries to introduce taxation of online businesses. He said this will greatly help The Gambia to generate more taxes for national development.

Mr. Darboe made this comments recently in an interview with West Coast Radio upon his return from WATAF 17th Annual Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria. 

He said this was why during the recent concluded WATAF 17th Annual General Assembly, Gambian delegation was opportune to learn a lot from the Nigerian experts on how to tax online businesses.

Mr. Darboe reiterated that the Gambian delegation have learned a lot from the Nigerian experiences during the WATAF 17th Annual General Assembly, while acknowledging that despite the fact that it is difficult to tax online businesses due to lack of (tax bracket), Gambia will continue to search for new knowledge to ensure that taxation of online businesses is realised sooner or later in the Gambia as the technology is advancing.

According to Mr. Darboe, The Gambia is 100% ready moving towards tax digitalisation of revenue mobilisation, asserting that right now at the level of GRA, they are working towards moving from ASYCUDA plus-plus to ASYCUDA World. 

He explained that ASYCUDA World is a web-based software and once it is in place, you can just open your phone or laptop and have access to the system anywhere in this world without struggling for a line phone.

Mr. Darboe disclosed GRA currently is trying to prepare and have support from the African Development Bank to install this system.

He said the experts are already on the ground and over the past one year, they have been trying to prepare the system. “We are hopeful that by end 2021, GRA will be able to see the completion of ASUDA World that will give The Gambia a big jump in terms of digitalisation of our international trade,” Mr. Darboe further disclosed.

He also praised the World Bank for supporting GRA   to change their system from Gam-Net to I –Tax, which will go a long way to ease revenue mobilisation system. 

He also commented on the cordial relationship between the commercial banks and the GRA over the years. 

He said already the digitalisation of tax revenue mobilisation is in process at the level of the commercials, assuring that risk associated to tax digitalisation of revenue mobilisation will be well secured by well trained graduates attached to the IT unit at the Gambia Revenue Authority.

On the WATAF 17th Annual General Assembly and its achievements for the past years, Mr. Darboe said it was to bring everybody on board so that their voices will be in decisions and can be heard at the African Tax Administration forum ATAF, which is the Apex body. 

The objective of WATAF was to engage with ECOWAS to bring both international trade and domestic tax revenue mobilisation together; something he said “was successfully achieved over the years and now ECOWAS listen to us.” 

Mr. Darboe used the platform to commend WATAF for its commitment to ensure ECOWAS has a directorate under the ECOWAS Unit called Customs and Taxation.