GRA’s Board Chair Tells FPAC
By: Musa Sherrif Hydara
The Chairperson of the GRA Board of Directors, Mrs. Lucy Faye, has informed the Finance and Public Accounts Committee(FPAC) of the National Assembly that the average annual revenue growth for 2007-2021 stood at 11%.
“This feat in revenue mobilization has given Government greater leverage in driving its development agenda forward,” board chair Faye recognized.
In a statement she delivered to the FPAC on GRA’s 2021 activity report on Tuesday, Mrs. Faye pointed out that one of the core mandates of GRA as a revenue collection agency is to promptly assess, collect and account for all revenues due to government in a fair and transparent manner according to the revenue laws.
“However, this is a complex matter under our cultural setting in that many see non-compliance towards their tax obligation as normal. In such an environment then, the enforcement of the revenue laws becomes a daily occurrence which in itself is both challenging and resource intensive,” she pointed out.
“Hon Chair and Members of the FPAC, we can therefore all appreciate the magnitude of the task assigned to the Gambia Revenue Authority as the main revenue-collecting body of Government,” she added.
Madam Faye explained that the GRA continues to account for most of the Government’s recurrent budget on an annual basis, having been operating as a single revenue administration since 2007.
“The average annual revenue growth for the period 2007- 2021 stood at 11%,” she told FPAC.
The board chair noted that as part of its interventions tofurther strengthen the gains in revenue mobilizationand administration, the GRA has continued to implement international best practices in revenue administration as well as honor regional and international protocols under ECOWAS, World Customs Organisation, Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) African Union (AU), African Tax Administrations Forum (ATAF) and World Trade Organization such as the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) among others.
She emphasized that the GRA continues to prioritize its digitalization drive among other key reforms outlined in the Fourth Corporate Strategic Plan 2020 – 2024.
“All these reforms aimed to deepen the gains already registered in operational efficiency through the use of ICT, human capital development; infrastructure improvements and tackling perennial non-compliance. Towards this end, the Board continues to lend its support and guidance as Management marches towards the successful implementation of these reforms that will ease compliance and expand the tax base,” she underlined.
Madam Faye explained to FPAC that despite the upward trend in revenue mobilization for the Government over the years and the continuous efforts of GRA management and staff, some daunting operational and compliance challenges still remain.
“These include among others, the large informal sector, poor compliance culture, material, human and infrastructural gaps, and incomplete automation of all revenue administration processes. Most of these challenges require investments and strengthening of the tax legislations,” she stated.
She told FPAC that the GRA board members also solicit the full support of the National Assembly through FPAC for increased resource allocation and timely approval of revenue legislations.
“In conclusion, Honourable Chair, I would like to end my statement by encouraging everyone to see the payment of taxes as a responsibility through which they are being part of the fabric of our country and contributing towards the common good,” the board chair stated.