Sunday, December 4

GRA-WATAF trains NAMs on Revenue Mobilization

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The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) and WATAF, on Monday, 7th November 2022, engaged forty National Assembly Members in a round table discussion on the “role of parliamentarians in domestic revenue mobilization in the post-covid.

The event was graced by the Finance Minister and top brass of GRA and Board Members at Senegambia beach hotel.

The two days convergent was organised by GRA in collaboration with the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, and the West African Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) to boost the Knowledge of the Parliamentarians on revenue mobilization. 

Speaking at the event, the Commissioner General of GRA Mr Yankuba Darboe welcomed them to the forum.

He said the target group for the forum, National Assembly members, was not selected by accident but based on the recognition of the critical role they play in the actualization of government fiscal policies. 

The Gambia Revenue Authority as an institution, he said, is a creation of the National Assembly. It was created by act No. 13 of 2004 following a policy decision to merge the excise, making the Gambia Revenue Authority the principal revenue collector for the government. 

As a statutory institution, the Authority is required by law to submit its accounts and activity report to the National Assembly on an annual basis for scrutiny. The relationship between GRA and the National Assembly is therefore one established by law, he explained.

“I wish to announce the WATAF and the UNDESA have also agreed to provide training for our staff on transfer pricing in our bid to fight tax evasion, treaty shopping, and the illicit financial flow from the continent.

“The objective of this roundtable is to highlight the role of National Assembly members in our domestic revenue mobilization drive. As international revenue receipts continue to dwindle in the face of external factors such as the growing number of regional and international free trade agreements, the coronavirus pandemic, the international supply chain crisis, the increase in freight charges, and the ongoing Russia –Ukraine war. The focus has now shifted to domestic revenue mobilization,” he added.

He said GRA believes the aspirations to expand the tax base and increase domestic revenue cannot be achieved without engaging its critical stakeholders. 

Therefore, he said, the National Assembly is a critical stakeholder in this regard. As taxation is governed by law and as the principle goes no taxation without representation, the National Assembly has to enact the necessary revenue laws effect amendments to the ones already in effect and repeal those deemed obsolete. 

He concluded that the National Assembly is central to the GRA domestic revenue mobilization drive. And as tax administrators, “we cannot levy tax or duty without the enabling legislation. Our mandate to collect any revenue and enforce any revenue law must be sanctioned by laws enacted by the National Assembly”.