By Fatoumatta K. Jallow
Shops at the Latrikunda Market have resumed business after the GRA’s recent tour of markets and business entities to check on tax defaulters. The shops were closed on Wednesday June 14, 2017, but business has once again started on Saturday, following 3 days of interruption.
The shop owners have called on the government to look into the method of tax payment especially in the markets because they pay different forms of taxes which also has a negative impact on their businesses. They all welcomed the move of the GRA by allowing them to resume business. The shops were opened on Saturday June 17, 2017 by delegates from GRA following discussion with the delegates of the market committee.
Badou Faal, Chairman said he led a delegation to the Tallinding GRA branch where they met one Lamin Jassey and their discussion was fruitful. After the meeting at the GRA office in Tallinding, he said people were sent to them to open all shops for business. He also said they agreed that the Authority will return to them to discuss how to solve the problem amicably. He said the authority agreed that they will provide a smooth payment strategy for them to pay in full. He noted that they refused to pay because the taxes levied on them are many and different and this includes KMC dues, which he said is very costly on them. He explained that a business at the market pays a minimum of 3 taxes which are all high. They appeal to the government to annul one of the three which are GRA, KMC, Shop Licenses among other high levied taxes, which he said makes things hard for them.
Omar Bah, a salesman said GRA came with force but are now ready for negotiation saying it is a better way because if they are closed, they cannot pay and business will be dormant. He said one of the reasons for Jammeh being voted out from office was the high tax levied on businesses and added that since elections, business has been dormant at the market. He also called on President Barrow to limit the high taxes because it was the main reason for Jammeh losing the election and warned that if Barrow continues on such trend, he shall also be voted out of office. He said it is unfair to charge a business person an amount that is more than the value of what he has in stock. He decried that they pay tax on their cash power for electricity, and call on the government to revive the tax policies in order to support businessmen.