Gambia’s main Tax Administration—The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), has embarked on a massive crackdown on income tax alleged defaulters by forcing local businesses—mainly Senegalese, Nigerians, Guineans and Gambian business owners at the market to close their shops, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. A good number of Senegalese businesses have been affected by the recent crackdown. Some business owners have complained about what they called a systematic routine harassment meted out to them by the GRA revenue collectors. Some of the Senegalese businessmen even had to close their shops in protest to return to their native country.
Senegal has played a pivotal role in ensuring that dictator Yahya Jammeh relinquishes power and allow Adama Barrow to assume the office of the presidency. Hence, this led to the heavy presence of Senegalese security forces in the West African country, to complement ECOMIG’s peace mission in Banjul.
The GRA Director General Yankuba Darboe, has been personally involved in the ongoing aggressive tax collection program. Darboe was quoted by a tailoring shop owner as having said: “Pay immediately or you pack and go.” When Mr. Darboe was asked why he didn’t embark on such rigorous tax collection during Jammeh’s era, his response to the business owners was “Don’t ask me that question.”
Many stalls have been closed at the Banjul and Serre-Kunda markets respectively. Business owners said due to the ailing economy, business is not faring well in Banjul. They account for less sales on a given day. Hence, it is hard for them to pay up the exorbitant GRA taxes.
It is not clear if president Adama Barrow, has given his blessing to the ongoing crackdown on the Senegalese businesses, but sources said GRA’s Yankuba Darboe raids against business owners, is forcing many Senegalese to leave town. Barrow calls President Macky Sall “ my big brother.” It is widely believed that president Sall is one of his advisers in this new Gambia.
The Senegalese business returnees will no doubt question Gambia’s sincerity towards them after been bailed out by Senegal from the clutches of Jammeh dictatorship.
“ The Senegalese business owners are mad at the Barrow government. GRA is harassing them on a daily basis. They have started leaving the country,” said our source.
The management of GRA could not be reached for comment.