Payment of tax Fundamental for national development
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Payment of tax is an ancient practice entrenched in the economic systems of civilizations. Revenue accrued from tax goes to ensure that the authority concerned meets the demands of its citizens in terms of service delivery.
As such tax payment is a national duty; and, therefore, any attempt to evade it constitutes a serious crime, regardless of who is culpable. Tax evasion is in fact not just a worldly crime; it is a crime even in the eyes of Allah. Leaders are accountable to Allah for the way they rule over their citizens who are, themselves, expected to play their part in ensuring that their leaders serve them effectively.
Non-payment of tax does not only mean deprivation of government due, but also it is tantamount to deniying the entire nation what rightfully belongs to it; it also means, by extension, denying the people the privilege of enjoying certain services that are tied to the provision of public services.
The Gambia government's uncompromising stance in ensuring that everybody fulfils their obligations is a commendable move. And in no way could this have been demonstrated more than by instituting the merger between the former Customs and Excise, and what was known as Income Tax. This has already been proven by the impressive turn out the Authority is said to have experienced, in terms of revenue collected. What we must focus on now is consolidation of this enormous gain.
Our success depends chiefly on three important things: Patriotism; Sincerity; and Love for oneself. A true love for oneself is best demonstrated when extended to one's offspring. You cannot make a better tomorrow for your offspring if a better foundation is not laid for them. And it follows that payment of tax is a requirement for building this foundation, on which the progress of the nation strongly relies.
It is a natural phenomenon that some would always want to defy order, so it is obvious that GRA is going to face the task of dealing with defaulters. The laws of The Gambia have no doubt catered for that. Tax invasion can be rightly equated to murder, as its impact on society often has far reaching implications on the people.
In a nutshell, if we truly want to excel, we must not allow individual interest to prevail over national interest. Tax evaders should be given the treatment they deserve. In the long run, this might serve as a deterrent.