The award-giving event was organised by the management of GRA and held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel on Saturday 4 March 2023.
At the event, Ecobank (G) Ltd was awarded as the ‘large most tax compliant of the year 2022’ and Jah Oil Company was awarded as the ‘most tax compliant Oil Marketing of the Year 2022’. Standard newspaper received the ‘most tax compliant media house of the year 2022’, Fouta Enterprise received the ‘most tax compliant essential commodities of the year 2022’. These are just to name a few and the list goes on.
The presentation was presided over by the Gambian leader, President Adama Barrow and the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Hon. Abdoulie Jobe, representing the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. GRA Board members and top Management were in full gear to make the remarkable event one of a kind.
In his remarks, the Commissioner General of GRA, Yankuba Darboe, welcomed the winners to the 5th edition of GRA’s Taxpayers Award and Recognition ceremony, saying: “I wish to extend a special welcome to our Chief Guest of Honour, His Excellency Mr Adama Barrow, and President of the Republic of The Gambia.
“On behalf of the Board, management and staff of the Gambia Revenue Authority, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the President for taking time of his busy schedule to join this event.”
He said the annual Taxpayers Award ceremony, now in its 5th edition is an initiative of the management of GRA to create a forum to recognize the most compliant taxpayers in Gambia’s economy as a reward for their unwavering commitment to fulfilling their tax obligation and civic duty.
“It is also meant to promote and foster a culture of voluntary compliance among taxpayers. As we all know, The Gambia is a tax-based economy and as such, taxes are the lifeblood of our economy,” he said.
According to CG Darboe, taxes are a critical pillar for the development and growth of any nation and The Gambia is not an exception. “Therefore, it goes without saying that taxpayers play a significant role in the functioning of our democracy and in the prosperity of our country,” he said.
Mr Darboe further stated that as a revenue administration, our primary mandate is to collect all revenues due to government in a fair and transparent manner, and to ensure that the government receives adequate revenue to fund its operations to enable it to provide essential services to the Gambian people. “GRA is therefore central in the Government Domestic revenue mobilization drive”. CG Darboe stated.
According to Mr Darboe, in 2022 financial year, the Authority was tasked by government to collect the sum of D13Billion. However, due to the numerous economic challenges during the first and second quarters of 2022, the revenue target was revised in the third quarter from D13.5 billion to D12.7Billion.
“Despite this revision of the revenue target, GRA wish to report that the year 2022 was a very challenging year for our economy,” he said, adding that the economic outlook for 2022 was very promising with GDP projected to grow from 4.3% in 2021 to 4.5% in 2022, but the outbreak of the Ukraine war in February 2022, just two months into the year, “dented any hopes of recovery”.
The global economy witnessed an unprecedented rise in inflation, with prices of essential goods and services rising beyond the reach of many individuals and households, he said.
The inflationary pressure was largely attributed to the war in Ukraine, the supply chain disruptions, rising energy costs, and the slow recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.
“In The Gambia, the government was forced to grant fuel subsidy in excess of D1.6Billion of what would have counted as part of GRA collection, to ease the burden on ordinary Gambians,” he said. “In addition to this, tax expenditure as at December 2022 amounted to D4.89Billion and tax incentives granted through Special Investment Certificates amounting to D267.7Million. These various tax expenditure programs have pegged revenue to GDP at 11.1%, instead of the actual 15.2% which would have put The Gambia around the regional average.”
Despite these challenges, he said: “It is my pleasure to report that the Authority in the 2022 financial year collected the sum of D12.7Bilion, exceeding the target, by 0.3%. This revenue performance represents a marginal growth of 0.3% over the 2021 revenue performance.
“Perhaps the most positive event of the 2022 revenue performance was the fact that the Domestic Taxes Department accounted for 51.2% of the total revenue collection, for the first time since the establishment of GRA,” he said, adding: “This is indeed a great achievement in our domestic revenue mobilization drive. This performance by the Domestic Taxes Department is evidence that the policies and strategy’s put in place by the government to expand the tax base and close loopholes is indeed bearing fruits.”