Friday, October 30, 2015

GAMBIA: Expatriate employee payroll tax increase

The Office of the President, acting independent of the Ministry of Finance, issued a circular last week notifying employers that they should pay an additional payroll tax of D 10,000 per expatriate employee.

A perplexed local businessman wondered why he is being asked to pay for his foreign, mainly Senegalese, employees after paying the same in January this year.

Sources have suggested that the presidential directive to collect additional taxes from business established was done with neither the consultation nor the consent of the Minister of Finance.

Equally disturbing about the Office of the President's unilateral action is that the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) charged with the mandate to collect revenue has been totally blind-sided by this recent development.  The GRA is unaware and thus equally surprised by the action which clearly contravenes recent agreements entered into between the Government of The Gambia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other development partners.

"The persistent interference of Jammeh is a cause for concern", says a highly place civil servant who proceeded to warn that the IMF's staff monitored program "hangs on the balance, thanks to president Jammeh."

The strong reaction of the senior official was prompted by the fact the payroll tax collection is being conducted by the Immigration Department brigade and not the GRA.  Immigration officers are seen going from shop to shop along Wellington and Picton Streets demanding payment of a tax that had already been paid in January.

When the businessman was asked whether the payment was being done in advance and that they will not be expected to pay the payroll tax next January, his response was "we get to pay again before January 31, 2016."