By Mustapha Jallow
As part of its drive to digitise tax processes and Customs procedures, the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) on Wednesday signed an internet services agreement called “FIBER-OPTIC internet” with The Gambia Telecommunications Company Limited (Gamtel).
The agreement was meant to service all GRA offices across the country, totaling 20 offices. The GRA is about to launch two new Systems- ASYCUDA World for international trade and an Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) for Domestic Taxes.
It will automate virtually all the tax and customs processes and procedures of GRA, and will provide taxpayers and traders through web-based platforms for e-registration, e-filing and e-payment of taxes and duties, amongst others.
Mr Yankuba Darboe, Commissioner General for GRA, explained the reason for choosing FIBER-OPTIC internet services, saying it is because the high-speed internet is required to operationalise the two systems.
“Ours will only become a reality if we have the necessary internet infrastructure to support this digital transformation. It is this big dream that motivated GRA to enter into this agreement with GAMTEL. We hope that this will be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with GAMTEL as we move towards digitisation,” he said this during the event held at GRA head-office in Banjul.
GRA boss said the two systems they are procuring are; one for international trade and another for Domestic Taxes, require fast internet to facilitate the interactions between the systems and taxpayers, traders and all stakeholders.
According to him, once the two systems are launched, hopefully in 2022, taxpayers and traders will be able to submit all documentation (tax returns, invoices, etc.) online with little or no human interactions.
Moreover, he stated that taxpayers will also be able to make payments online without the need to visit any GRA tax or customs officer, saying this will invariably reduce the cost of compliance for taxpayers by simplifying compliance and reducing the cost of administration for GRA
CG Darboe informed the gathering that the automation of tax collection systems is one of many reform strategies in GRA’s Corporate Strategic plan (2020-2024). He noted that as the world is moving towards automation, GRA will not be left behind in this drive.
He further explained that the digital transformation of tax processes and procedures have been part of GRA’s strategy to broaden the tax base, enhance transparency and trust, reduce compliance burden for taxpayers and to improve administrative efficiency.
For her part, the Commercial Director of Gamtel, Ramou Nyassi, who spoke on behalf of the Director General of Gamtel, thanked GRA for coming up with this big project as well as trusting them in providing internet services to them.
She assured GRA’s management that Gamtel will provide the necessary support to realise GRA’s dream of digitizing its processes and procedures.