By Landing Ceesay
Commissioner General of Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) said importers of food commodities are exempted from paying the Value Added Tax.
“Importers of most of the basic commodities to the country are 0% tax rated, they don’t have to pay any Value Added Tax (VAT). The only thing they are allowed to pay is the duty at the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA). I think this is helping the business community a lot because, when you have goods on the international trade you pay duty and you also pay VAT, but the GRA exempted the basic food commodities from paying VAT.
“Because of the pandemic has hit us hard in different areas, and makes our work very difficult so we have to work in consultation with the Ministry of Finance which is our parent ministry to come up with some form of incentive that will be available to the business community. So that we can see ourselves out of this current situation which is the covid-19 pandemic,” Yankuba Darboe stated.
The GRA top man said during the coronavirus pandemic, his institution has reduced tax payment by 20%; saying instead of the business community paying 100% Freight Insurance (CIF) cost, they now pay 80%.
“We also give them what we call Direct Delivery facility (DD). It is for those who are not very much involved in the international trade. If they have goods at the ports, since we know that life is difficult and they don’t have money to pay their tax, we asked them to apply for the DD facility, so that they can take their goods from the ports to their shops. After one month or 45 days, they can come and pay their tax to GRA,” he said.
Darboe is convinced that the Direct Delivery facility has ease the burden of the business community because they are allowed to take home their goods and then pay after a month, or 45 days.
The Commissioner General further informed that his institution has come up with an initiative on the collection of domestic taxes during the coronavirus pandemic meant to give people the opportunity to present a flexible payment plan to pay their taxes.
“We are living in an unusual situation. That’s why we came up with this idea, a lot of businessmen and women turned up and told us how they plan to pay their taxes and we accepted their proposals. So many of them came back to us and paid their taxes as they promised,” Darboe told journalists at a press conference organised by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment on Monday 19th April, 2021.
The press conference came amid public outcry of the surging of the cost of food and other essential commodities in the country.