By Mustapha Jallow
About twenty five staff from the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), concluded a five day intensive training on revenue laws. The training was organized by the GRA’s Legal and Board Services Department, with support from the French Development Agency (AFD).
Speaking at the closing ceremony in Senegambia, Essa Jallow, the Deputy Commissioner General of GRA and head of Domestic Tax, said the objective was to remind staff about their roles and responsibilities as revenue collectors; Thus the need to be well familiar with revenue laws in order to be more effective and efficient in the discharge of their functions. He thanked AFD for funding the training through the Domestic Revenue Mobilization DRM project, and also spoke extensively about the essence of the training, which he said, could not have come at a better time when they were wrapping up for 2022, and preparing for 2023.
“We must recognize the inextricable link between increasing our revenue collection and having the appropriate laws and best tax administration practices. As a tax administration, we continue to pursue and implement sound policies, legislation and systems, in order to modernize our processes and procedures, so as to enhance revenue collection and improve the delivery of taxpayer services,’’ Jallow said.
According to him, revenue laws are the most important tools available to revenue officers simply because there cannot be taxation without the supporting pieces of legislation. He said one of the principal responsibilities of the Finance Ministry is to formulate tax policies, which he said are enacted into law, by the National Assembly.
“Once these revenue laws are passed, they become working tools for us as we need to apply them in our day-to-day work. It is important to know that our authority as revenue officers to enforce tax collection on behalf of the state is derived from the various revenue laws you will examine in this training,’’ Jallow said. He indicated how the training will expose staff on the GRA’s Act, the IVAT Act, Customs and Excise Act and other revenue laws administered by the GRA. He said the training also dwelled on the functions, mandate and powers of the Authority as enshrined under the various revenue laws.
“These laws inform our assessments in terms of who, how, when and at what rate(s) we should tax, and who to exempt from tax, etc.,’’ he explained.
According to Jallow, without knowing and understanding the law therefore, they cannot apply it, because they do not have adequate knowledge of the law, and cannot therefore tax correctly, or may not tax fully based on the scope of application of the law.
“I believe that after this training, you will possess the requisite legal skills and knowledge to enhance your job performance, and contribute effectively towards our DRM goals by demonstrating excellent professional competence and due care to our esteemed taxpayers,’’ he told participants.