By Musa Bah
Yankuba Darboe, Commissioner of General Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has described the failure of rental taxes by property owners as a monumental challenge to the country’s development project.
Commissioner General Darboe made the statement at the closing of the 9th International Conference organised by the West African Union Taxation Institute (WAUTI) at Sir Dawda Kairaba International Centre on Thursday, where he said despite millionaires generating huge monies through rental income but they are hiding away from paying their share fare taxes, which is a big barrier to the government development projects.
The annual conference assembled participants from the regional block of ECOWAS on matters of improving taxation in member countries and learning best practices.
CG Darboe pointed out that payment of rental income taxes remains a cause for concern, in the sense that many missionaries are making money, but are reluctant to come willingly and pay their taxes.
He described attitudes of non-compliance of payment as ungodly and unpatriotic individuals, adding that the number of revenue collectors is more than two hundred staff and was quick to ask how these limited staffs collect all the rental taxes countrywide.
He urged people to come out and show nationalism and know that paying taxes is not a waste of any meaningful nation, noting that failure to pay taxes will not help the government to realise it development projects target.
He disclosed that despite closing down businesses or taking people to court as the last option, still certain unscrupulous individuals generating monies out of rental income are reluctant to pay their share fare taxes, which is unfair to the Government.
He said Gambia is among countries with a tax-based economy, and governments cannot realize projects without based economies, and Governments cannot realize their projects in the absence of paying taxes.
He warned defaulters to come and pay their taxes on time without any obstruction, while he further urged for the need to generate innovations for member countries that can greatly help to maximize revenue generation.
Commissioner General Darboe urged African graduates from international loans and grants to try to be self-reliant, noting that this can only be achieved through organizing forums of this nature to learn from each other and adopt best practices.
He also commended the Gambian media for their proactive role in complementing GRA mandates in revenue collection through massive media sensitization in their various media outlets.
He noted that GRA is indebted to Gambian media for their pivotal role in helping GRA maximize the much-needed revenue for the Government.
CG Darboe vowed that partnering with the media is a step in the right direction and will help to increase the level of tax compliance, noting that that the level of coverage of the media has gone beyond GRA, as he comments on the efforts and the participation of the media in enlarging the general public about the importance of payment of taxes to the government.