GRA boss: Semlex must either pay arrears in full or present a payment plan

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Commissioner General of Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) said on Monday that there will always be a way out to settle the authority’s closure of the Belgium-based company, Semlex. “There will always be a way out. Semlex has to either pay its arears in full or present a payment plan to the authority,” Yankuba Darboe said at a press briefing on Monday.

The revenue authority ceased the company from operation on Monday for what it called its failure to settle its corporate tax for nearly two years. It entered into a five-year contract agreement with the government for the production of National Biometric passports and ID cards in the country, which is now nearly two years without paying tax. The company Holds 70 percent share of the profit, a move that was highly criticized by civil society organizations

At Monday’s press briefing at its head office in Banjul, Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe blamed Semlex for negligence in paying their Taxes after being given two-times extension and failure to provide the Special investment Certificate (SIC) for almost two years.

Daily Observer

In June 2017, the Authority closed the former pro-government newspaper, Daily Observer for what it called the media company’s failure to pay tax that amounted to more than 19 million dalasis accrued over time. The former leading newspaper in the country still remain closed, despite conclusion of investigations by a commission of inquiry.

Commissioner General Darboe added that Gambia has a self-assessment tax system that proffers that whether an SIC holder or a duty waiver, companies should provide their documents to the GRA for documentation and eligibility to avoid such situations.

According to him, Semlex withholds proves of having the Special Investment Certificate due to their failure to meet the criteria of holding the SIC, saying GRA is a member of the committee that issues the Special Investment Certificate.

As of January, this year, over one hundred and fifty-five million dalasi has been generated from the issuance of national identification cards, according to the Gambia Immigration Department.

Gambia Revenue Authority was established by an act of the National Assemble in 2004 to enhance the mobilization of Revenue for economic sovereignty and self-reliance.

Commissioner General Darboe further stated that the Authority will not relent to hold companies accountable for failing to pay their taxes.

He said it is high time that citizens and company owners respect the Law and Taxes regulations, adding that there will always be a way out with Semlex, either by paying their amount in full or present a payment plan to the authority.

Written by Binta Ceesay

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