Monday, February 24, 2014

Why are we still paying sales tax and VAT

When the Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced last year in the midst of confusion within the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), Gambian was assured that the new tax was in place of the sales tax.

At the time of the introduction of the VAT, we wrote that the sales tax was still being collected from consumers even when the VAT went into effect.  The Finance Minster at the time reassured his cabinet colleagues and Parliamentarians that the sale tax was no longer being charged.  This assurance is clearly false.  The sales tax is still being collected, and the VAT continues to be misapplied.

Regarding the sales tax, we ask why is the sales tax still being collected when the sales tax portion of the Income and Sales Tax Act of 2004 has been repealed according to the Finance Ministry.  It is unfortunate that this government is in the habit of misleading the people it is supposed to be serving.  This government has great difficulty in presenting facts without distortions.  We ask, if the sales tax was to have ceased and yet the GRA still continues to collect it, where are the proceeds being lodged.

As regards the VAT, we have said in the past, and we do not care repeating again that The Gambia is ill-prepared for a successful implementation of the law.  Back in June 2013,  we said that the GRA responsible for the new law does not understand the VAT, and therefore its implementation will be lackluster at best. We hate to say we have been proven right again.

The new VAT machines are inappropriate because the software is outdated.   We have also commented on the appropriateness of their procurement which we do not wish to revisit but we would like to ask why are those who's VAT bill is more than D 100,000 are being provided a special bank account number to pay in their VAT liabilities.  Why are these proceeds not being lodged in the central government account.

When Jammeh seized power illegally in 1994, be promised Gambians accountability, transparency and probity.  We he's given us instead is an inept, opaque and corrupt government.