The conference, which brought together participants from various member countries in the sub-region, was organised by the Society of Women in Taxation (SWIT) in collaboration with GRA supported by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN).
In his Goodwill Message to conference participants, CG Darbo said: “I have always held the belief that the business of revenue mobilisation is everyone’s business. This includes the taxman, the taxpayer, public institutions, civil society and international partners across the world. We are therefore delighted to support the Society of Women in Taxation in delivering a successful conference.”
He added that civil society organisations are often the incubators of reforms and new ideas.
He expressed hope that the deliberations of the two-day convergence would yield the desired result and provide valuable information and insights.
Concerning the conference theme, the GRA commissioner general said: “I find the theme of the Conference – ‘Building professional women leaders for the future’ – very interesting and thought-provoking.
“More than any time before, women are taking up leadership roles in politics, business and in communities and they are doing so creditably. Despite this fact, women continue to be vastly under-represented in decision making in politics, businesses and communities. Women as leaders and decision-makers at all levels are critical to advancing gender justice and gender equality.”
He told all at the conference that the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Gambia Revenue Authority is a woman, and “she happens to be an advocate” for gender parity and gender equality.
“She continues to champion the cause of women at GRA,” CG Darbo explains. “We are very appreciative of her advocacy. She championed the Authority’s first Gender and Diversity Policy. We have committed to the promotion of women in leadership roles both in Senior and Top Management.”
As a result, he said, the GRA chose to support and partner with the Society of Women in Taxation in their collective objective of promoting women to leadership.
“We believe this is a fruitful partnership and we pray that the Society grows and reach the heights that you envisage for this organisation,” he said hopefully, adding: “Our doors will be open to receive new ideas, new insights and recommendations for reform.”
In his official keynote address at the conference, the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Hon. Seedy Keita, said the national executive council of the Society of Women in Taxation “is doing a great job” as an advocacy group.
He said he had long known that taxation is not an easy topic “So for women to come together as a group of bodies and take that forward is a noble objective”.
“Women are key stakeholders in national development,” he said, adding that in Africa women are hard-working and they seek balance and harmony in their professional life to see society’s development.
“We cannot develop as a society if we don’t empower half of humanity and that better half is the women. So I am very pleased to also add my voice to the role of taxation in the society because tax is the bedrock of any economic system and is the bedrock of any distributive system and we are very pleased to see this coming together,” he stated.