By Landing Ceesay
The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) Wednesday began a two-day stakeholder engagement with the staff and students of Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI).
The seminar that is taking place at a local hotel in Kololi is meant to enlighten the staff and students of GTHI on the mandate of GRA and expose them to tax collection and payment methods of the Gambia Revenue Authority.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Ousman Bah, Head of GRA Cooperative and Public Affairs said before the COVID 19 pandemic, the hotel industry was amongst the top industries/sectors where significant amounts of revenue was collected by the GRA, particularly the Value Added Tax.
“However, today the industry has suffered a significant drop in the number of tourist arrivals in the country,” he lamented.
Mr. Bah said it is important that GTHI students who are potential hotel employees are introduced to the fundamentals of taxation, taxpayer’s obligations and rights which is key to revenue mobilization and compliance management.
“The holding of this seminar with your institution is part of GRA’ Strategic Plan 2020 -2024, Goal 2, Optimize Client Service Delivery for Improved Customer Relation and Corporate Image. In simple terms, to engage, educate and sensitize all stakeholders to enhance their understanding about the significance of tax revenue and its contribution in the national development programmes. I therefore, urge you to listen attentively to all the presentations, ask questions, and participate fully in the discussions that will take place to enhance knowledge sharing and better understanding of tax issues,” he said.
The GRA Head of Cooperative and Public Affairs told the GTHI staff and students that the his institution had launched the Taxpayers Charters in April 2022 that defines taxpayer’s rights and obligations, under the Income & VAT Tax Act (2012), Customs and Excise Act (2010), and other revenue laws administered by the authority.
Mr. Bah continued that the Taxpayers Charters specified the GRA’s legal obligations under the Income & VAT Tax Act (2012), Customs and Excise Act (2010), and other revenue laws.
The Taxpayers Charters, he added specified GRA’s commitment to providing services to the taxpayers and bringing in transparency in the tax services, which promotes tax compliance.
He said the revenue authority further launched the ASYCUDA World to facilitate International Trade and E-services to ease the payment of duties; adding that the ASYCUDA World is a web enable system that can be accessed remotely by stakeholders in the International trade supply chain to process clearance of their goods.
“Similarly the Authority (GRA) is also in the process of implementing the Integrated Tax Management System to digitalize the payment of domestic tax revenue. Therefore, our engagement with you (GTHI staff and students) and other stakeholders is crucial and will be a continuous process to improve your understanding about the Authority’s reforms initiatives, business processes, strengthen our partnership and cooperation,” Mr. Bah told the participants.
He urged the participants to make the sessions interactive by asking questions, and participating fully in the discussions so that they could share with other colleagues, parents and friends, knowledge gained.
The two-day stakeholder engagement with the staff and students of Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI) by the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) that started yesterday (Wednesday) would end today (Thursday).