According to the Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe, the board’s study tour was meant to expose the board to the experiences of the Tanzania Revenue Authority in using digital platforms to collect revenue and to benchmark GRA’s tax processes and procedures with those of TRA to determine best practice.
The study tour was informed by the fact that GRA is in the process of introducing e-filing and e-payment platforms for the payment of duties and taxes. He stated that the introduction of the digital platforms will not only reduce the cost of compliance for taxpayers, but it will also reduce the cost of tax administration. “GRA is looking forward to launching the ASYCUDA WORLD system most likely at the end of the year. The ASYCUDA WORLD system is an improved upgrade of the ASYCUDA++ that is currently in use. It is web-based and as such, it will allow importers and exporters to clear their goods in the comfort of their couch or offices anywhere in the world with little or no human intervention,” CG Darboe said.
Aside from the ASYCUDA WORLD system, GRA is also in the process of acquiring a new Integrated Tax Administration System for domestic tax collection through a funding from the World Bank to replace the GAMTAXNET system. “This new system will be a game changer in terms of GRA’s digitalisation agenda. Once in place, the new system will allow taxpayers among other things, to file returns and pay taxes online with little or no human intervention and with no need to visit our offices.”
“The impending introduction of the two new systems for international trade and domestic taxes is one of the cornerstones in GRA’s strategy to expand the tax base. It is our strategy that instead of increasing the tax rates, it is better to widen the tax net and close loopholes in the tax administration system. “The digitalisation of our tax processes and procedures is just the beginning of our drive to automate not just the tax collecting systems but to automating our internal administrative systems to reduce the cost of compliance and cost of tax administration.”
The study tour to TRA was worth the visit as the Board was taken through TRA’s modern tax administration practices and how this has significantly impacted the revenue performance of TRA. “We chose TRA for the study tour because it is the oldest Revenue Authority in Africa and this has placed it as a beacon in implementing effective reforms in tax administration. Further, as an African country, Tanzania and The Gambia share the same social and economic realities and are faced with similar challenges. Therefore, TRA was an ideal Revenue Authority to learn from as we seek to modernize our processes and procedures.”
As part of the study tour, the Board was also taken on a conducted tour of the Tanzania Institute of Tax Administration (ITA), one of the leading tax administration institutes in Africa. ITA offers degree programs and short courses various aspects of tax administration and GRA and TRA have proposed the signing of an MoU to enhance cooperation between the two sister institutions especially in areas of capacity development and exchange programmes.