Dr Ismaila Ceesay: Citizens’ Alliance to Expand Gambia’s Tax Base

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By Yankuba Jallow

Dr Ismaila Ceesay, the presidential candidate for the Citizens’ Alliance, said if elected to lead the affairs of the country, he will expand the tax base of The Gambia.

Foroyaapublished two of the 10 point promises in its last edition. These plans were unveiled by Dr Ceesay last week Thursday, 29th July 2021 at a local hotel in Kololi.

Promise 3: Diversify of Our Economic Growth and Job Creation, Reform Civil Service and the State-Owned Enterprises and Eradicate Corruption

Dr Ismaila Ceesay said the economy will be diversified in order to promote growth which would eventually create employment. He added that the civil service will be reformed to make it efficient and effective by coming up with solutions in service delivery in The Gambia. He promised that a CA Government will provide incentives for civil servants and motivate them. The presidential candidate said the State Owned Enterprises have been failing in their two core functions which are to provide services and pay dividends to the government.

“They have been failing. We are going to reform them- serious structural reforms. [It is] not going to be lip-service reform,” he said.

He said the Gambia is strategically placed to harness her aviation and maritime resources, saying the aviation and maritime resources of the country have not been properly harnessed since the country became independent.

“The Gambia should have been an aviation hub for West Africa and beyond, even Asia. Our maritime industry should be serving Asia, Europe and southern part of Africa through our ports making Banjul a truly port city – truly a maritime city,” he said.

He said the management of NAWEC will be restructured to make sure the company is managed by competent professional private firms to make it more effective. Ceesay added that power generation would change progressively from heavy fuel to green energy.

“We are going to engage independent power producers to make sure NAWEC is efficient, provide cheap services and also bring dividends,” he said.

He said Gamtel, Gamcel and GIA will be structurally restructured to provide service and bring dividends. On the country’s debt, Dr Ceesay said a CA Government will engage into negotiation to bring down the debt burden.

“We will also make sure there is efficient spending in Government and will also reform our taxation regime,” he said.

Dr Ceesay said he feels that many people are not paying “their fair share of the society”, referring to taxation.

“We will reduce the informal sector so that we receive more tax that will be invested on the people,” he said.

Dr Ceesay said they will invest in critical industries like aviation and maritime as well as make Gambia competitive for direct foreign investment by ensuring the country has the right conditions, like the right infrastructure and legal framework, to attract global investment through multinational corporations to provide decent jobs for young people. He said they will invest in building the capacity of the young people.

“We will expand the tax base and tighten control of Government spending and inject professional and competent management in Government and state owned-enterprises,” he said.

On corruption, Dr Ceesay said there is no transparency on how public funds are managed, adding there is a serious misuse of corporate assets.

“We are going to put a stop to that. We are going to eradicate corruption,” he said.

He said his party is not only going to minimize corruption, but would eradicate it in the country.

“These are bold and ambitious promises,” Ceesay said.

He detailed that a CA Government will reduce the number of ministries by removing some of them and creating new ones. He did not provide any detailed explanation as to how the cabinet under a CA Government would look like, but promised that he will unveil that in due course.

CA leader maintained that some of the ministries that the country has were created many decades ago to solve the problems of the past, adding there is need to create new ministries to address the current problems facing the country as well as plan for the future.

“We need new innovative ministries,” he said.

Dr Ceesay said they will be re-evaluating the payroll to make sure people are paid the value of their service, saying targets would be set and performance will be evaluated. He added that a CA Government will come up with a charter of ethics in the civil service.