He made this statement while delivering his keynote address on behalf of the commissioner general of GRA at the official opening of a daylong Media Engagement and Information Sharing Forum on the theme: ‘Impact of Timely Payment of Rates and Taxes for National Development.’
The forum brought together about 30 journalists from various media houses under the organisation of the Network of Financial and Tax Reporters (NFTR) Gambia Chapter.
The forum was supported by Brikama Area Council (BAC) and Banjul City Council (BCC), and held at GCCI conference hall last Friday.
According to Mr. Manneh, GRA is proud to be associated with convergence with the media on this theme, saying it came at a right time as the world grapples with a pandemic like COVID-19.
He added that this time, greater resources are needed to address the myriads of challenges created by the pandemic.
“I think all of us agreed that The Gambia is a tax based economy. This means, a greater part of the income the government generates comes from the collection of taxes, duties, or levies to run its operations (salaries, other recurrent costs, debt service and capital development programmes). Therefore, the timely payment of these taxes, duties, levies or rates determines how much or how soon government or the councils are able to run their operations including responding to the needs of society.”
“That is why the importance of this engagement and partnership with the media practitioners cannot be overemphasised. At the level of GRA, we see the media as partner in development and that is why we value every opportunity to engage with you.”
“We believe that the proper understanding of the tax system and the revenue laws by the media practitioners is a win-win situation in our drive to improve compliance across all levels particularly those operating in the informal sector which forms greater numbers of our taxpaying population yet contribute less to the revenue base.”
“As a revenue authority, we are using multi-pronged approaches in our taxpayer education programmes through the use of print, electronic and social media handles to advertise, hold radio talk shows, tax jingles. In addition, we developed and shared information brochures, on the various tax types being administered by GRA which are made available to our taxpayers through our offices and website.”
Manneh thanked the president and members of the Network of Financial and Tax Reporters for their partnership and for complementing the outreach programmes of the Authority since establishment in 2019. “It has indeed been a fruitful collaboration with them and we look forward to further strengthening this,” he added.
“We equally value and appreciate the partnership and the continuous collaboration of all the media practitioners in The Gambia over the years because tax and tax payment are the business of everybody. Thus, we all have a stake in it, and if we fail to take up our stake, somebody else will.”
“On behalf of the Commissioner General, GRA Board, Management and Staff, we want to thank you most sincerely for coming and expect that the knowledge acquired today will be shared with value taxpayers for better and improved compliance levels and more resources for national development.”