IMF, stakeholders discuss VAT implementation
Friday, September 14, 2012
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Thursday convened a day open outreach discussion with the private sector and other crucial actors in the business industry on the Gambia’s Value Added Tax (VAT), a bill entitled ‘An act to repeal the Income and Sales Tax Act, No.19 of 2004 (as amended) and enact the Income and Value Added Tax Act, 2012 to revise the laws relating to income tax and value added tax and for connected matters.
The 201-page VAT Bill 2012 seeks to bring about a new
dispensation in tax administration and repeal the existing Income and Sales Tax
Act, No. 19 of 2004. The VAT will come into implementation in January next
year. The VAT will replace the sales tax that has been in existence for a long
The seminar was conducted at the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) office in Bijilo. “Where there is high rate of taxation in an economy, the private sector has a big role to play in reducing it,” said Almamy F Taal, the chief executive officer ofGCCI. He said the larger chunk of the economy is consumed by the government, observing that the more responsive the private sector is to the challenges they face, the better strong the government will be in addressing them. “It is always helpful that the collaboration between the government and the private sector continues,” he added.
Tax administration, Taal went on, is very important, saying institutions are not just set up and pay for them without them delivering as expected. “When we talk about the VAT, we are talking about tax from the people,” he said.
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic
Affairs, Mod Secka, maintained it is evident that the poverty level in this
country has dropped to 10% and the coming of the VAT is expected to bring more
improvement. “We want to have highly skilled people in the public sector in
order to boom the government human resource capability,” he said.
The commissioner of Domestic Tax at the Gambia Revenue Authority, Essa Jallow, told the gathering that the most fundamental thing about the level of preparedness for the VAT is that sensitisations about it are on high gear on both the electronic and print media and through seminars. “We must all understand that the VAT is not coming to bring about a radical change,” Jallow told the gathering, observing that at GRA, business is the compliance aspect that they are well concerned of. “We are doing as much as possible to make the general public understand that the VAT is going to be beneficial to them as business people,” he added.
The IMF chief of mission to The Gambia, David Dunn, told the gathering that in a business, if people want to pay for a lower tax rate, they have to broaden its base. “What is going on right now is to popularise the VAT to the general public,” he explained.
Mamour Malick Jagne, chairman of the Gambia Bankers
Association, said when it comes to tax and tax administration, banks in The
Gambia are ready to be compliant. “We continue to be concerned about the local
government tax and we want to bring the banking system to the doorsteps of
Gambians,” he added.
He assured that the association is poised to implement the VAT if they are timely informed. He also noted that the economic outlook of The Gambia is changing and that the banks are now competing to significantly bring down their rates.
Author: Amadou Jallow