By: Nyima Sillah
Ebou Mala’s Children Foundation, a charitable foundation has expressed frustration over the value-added tax levy on the foundation for the importation of containers that are meant to support vulnerable communities in the Gambia.
Karamo Ceesay the ward councilor for Talinding in an interview with The Voice yesterday said the foundation has been constantly asked to pay VAT when they ship containers and vowed to halt the process if the request is made again.
“If we are asked to pay VAT for another container again, then the foundation will no more continue operating in the Gambia because all the items that the foundation is bringing into the country are just to complement the government’s efforts so the moment they start request for these payments they are discouraging the foundation,” Mr. Ceesay said.
He alleged that a lot of things happen behind the scene but if any of their subsequent containers are charged again for a VAT they will stop operating in the Gambia.
Ceesay noted that Tallinding South Ward Development Community Signed an MoU with foundation since 2018 with the sole objective to support vulnerable people in their community and since then the foundation has been extending support to the community and many institutions in the Gambia.
Mr. Ceesay recalled that in August last year they had experienced challenges with regards to one of their containers when they were asked for a payment out of the eleven containers that were shipped into the country.
“Out of the 11 containers, they asked us to pay VAT for one container.
The actual amount for VAT was D38, 150. Later they said the value has increased to D43, 000, and our agency was blocked for not paying VAT, but we later paid the VAT,” he argued.
Councilor Ceesay further explained that they applied for a duty waiver but that was not the case last year and blamed the ministry of finance for imposing such a high VAT on their shipping containers despite they are exempted as an NGO, noting that all the items that the foundation imported were distributed as charity among institutions.