Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gambia Ranked 2nd “Highest Tax” Nation In The World

The Gambia has been  “ranked” as the world’s 2nd “highest tax” nation, as well as the 8th bottom “most difficult” country to do business, a presentation by  the Secretary General of the Association of Clearing and Forwarding  Agencies (ACFA), Mr. Joof, disclosed.
He was making a presentation on the challenges of  trade facilitation in the Gambia, at a recent occasion held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

According to WB Doing Business Report 2011, the country is ranked 176 in the world; and Joof added that there are high  municipal taxes and incoherent tax regime. 
 He said trade facilitation is the removal of trade barriers, access to information on other countries  importing and exporting regulations; and how customs procedures are handled and cutting red tape of the point where goods enter a country. He said these are ways of facilitating trade, adding facilitating trade is about streamlining and simplifying international trade procedures in order to allow for easier flow of goods and trade at both national and international level.  
The importance, he said, is to improve and maintain the development of our business, as well as foster international cooperation.
Joof also said lack of compliance by some border agencies and some public officials, and numerous checkpoints are of some of the resistance faced by trade facilitation in The Gambia.
He also pointed to the “lack of awareness” coupled with insufficient human resources and inadequate infrastructure, and high cost of transactions with delays in the clearance of goods, including high cost of fuel, insufficient transport and equipment; limited facilities for the payment of customs duty and taxes; and too many agencies involved in the clearance process. 
He particularly emphasised this point because according to him, even the “immigration” are involved in the clearance process. aThis, he alleged further, is causing a lot of delayance in the process.  
Secretary General Joof adviced the government of The Gambia to intensify public awareness on trade facilitation and remove unnecessary checkpoints to avoid delays in the transportation of goods within the country and beyond. 
He also urged for the adaptation of joint-border controls with our neighbours in order to ease the movement of goods within the borders.  
The ACFA SG further said there is urgent need for investment in Ports equipment and facilities, which, according to him, would facilitate easy trade in the country. 
 He finally called for the implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and Goods to facilitte Trade within our orders.

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