By Isatou Jallow
The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) on Saturday awarded 31 deserving and most tax-compliant institutions and individuals in 2022, under the leadership of Commissioner General Mr. Yankuba Darboe.
Held at the Kairaba Beach hotel, Eco Bank was awarded the large and most tax compliant of the year 2022, Jah Oil Company was awarded the most tax compliant Oil marketing company in 2022, The Standard Newspaper received the most tax-compliant media house of the year 2022award, Fouta Enterprise received the most tax compliant Basic Food importer of the year 2022award, while Shyben A Madi won the importer of the year 2022award.
The GRA award night was graced by the Gambian leader H.E Adama Barrow, minister of Petroleum and Energy Hon. Abdoulie Jobe who represented the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and GRA Board members and top Management.
Mr.Yankuba Darboe, Commissioner General GRA welcomed all the company managers and individuals and extended a special welcome to Chief Guest of Honour, His Excellency Mr. Adama Barrow.
He disclosed that this annual Taxpayers Award ceremony, in its 5th edition is an initiative of the management of GRA to create a forum to recognize the most compliant taxpayers in our economy as a reward for their unwavering commitment to fulfilling their tax obligation and civic duty.
CG Darboe pointed out that it is also meant to promote and foster a culture of voluntary compliance among taxpayers, saying that The Gambia is a tax-based economy and as such, taxes are the lifeblood of our economy.
He described taxes as a critical pillar for the development and growth of any nation and The Gambia is not an exception, adding that “it goes without saying that taxpayers play a significant role in the functioning of our democracy and the prosperity of our country.”
According to him, GRA’s primary mandate is to collect all revenues due to the government fairly and transparently and to ensure that the government receives adequate revenue to fund its operations to enable it to provide essential services to the Gambian people.
He added GRA is therefore central to the Government’s Domestic revenue mobilization drive.
CG Darboe disclosed that in the 2022 financial year, his office was tasked by the government to collect the sum of D13.billion, but 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.
He stated that despite this revision of the revenue target, the year 2022 was a very challenging year for our economy.
“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.
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,” he said.
He further disclosed that in The Gambia, the government was forced to grant fuel subsidies over D1.6billion of what would have counted as part of GRA collection, to ease the burden on ordinary Gambians, noting in addition to this, tax expenditure as of December 2022 amounted to D4.89 billion and tax incentives granted through Special Investment Certificates amounting to D267.7Million.
He also stated that 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, CG Darboe reported that the authority in the 2022 financial year collected the sum of D12.7 billion, exceeding the target, by 0.3%, adding that this revenue performance represents a marginal growth of 0.3% over the 2021 revenue performance.