The Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce (GYCC) with support from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) organized a two (2) Day high-level forum on “State of the Nation Business Environment” on the theme ”Reflecting and improving on our Policy and administrative strategies for the enhancement and mobilization of alternative domestic taxes to improve the sustainable Business environment in Gambia through reasonable tax’‘.
The event was designed to create an Interface between youth entrepreneurs and high level stakeholders including National Assembly and trade support organizations in the Entrepreneurship Eco-System, to dialogue on issues and policies affecting entrepreneurship in The Gambia, on the need to implement the special tax break for MSMEs thus incentives for business formalization and chance of more startup grow and pay larger tax to government.
The main objectives of the forum were;
- To promote entrepreneurial spirit at the national level in other to considerably increase the proportion of youth who own successful businesses in the country
- To contribute to the creation of enabling environment for MSMEs in the Gambia to realize their potential
- To ensure youth-friendly policies and regulations relating to entrepreneurship in the Gambia
KEY ISSUES RAISED DURING THE FORUM WERE;
- The inadequate capacity of SMEs to adhere to trade and tax policy like illegally operating a business has led to the closure of some of the businesses because some have been victims of multiple tax payment
- Some SMEs are paying almost 30% of the profit on the tax and most of them end up paying penalties on default from the authorizes because of their lack of awareness of the Tax system among all stakeholders
- SMEs are constantly faced with paying an additional payment on licenses, levies and other charges and they are paid to different institutions and local government authorities
- Most of the taxes are collected from a few businesses. According to GRA, 77% of all taxes collected are from 100 businesses out of all the SMEs in The Gambia.
- According to MOTIE, SMEs make 49 different payments to the government every year which will deprive them of reinvesting their funds back into the business.
- In some cases, Tax collectors are at liberty to determine and collect the tax obligation from SMEs and in most cases, they do not pay the right amount or they pay without having a receipt.
At the end of the Two days, an outcome document with Recommendation and way forward were established and have been circulated to the Stakeholders including the National Assembly of the Gambia