Monday, June 17, 2024

Presidential Travel Ban Extends Into 2024, HON. Seedy Keita

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By: Alieu Jallow

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Hon. Seedy Keita, announced during his budget presentation to Parliament that the current travel moratorium issued by the Office of His Excellency, President Adama Barrow, will continue for the 2024 Fiscal Year. Hon. Keita noted that official travels will be restricted to statutory travels only, and the size of delegations will also be trimmed.

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In August of this year, President Adama Barrow suspended all official travels, including his own, aimed at reducing public spending. The move came in response to the failing revenues, taxes, and high subsidies of fuels by the state.

Ranked at 174th out of 194 on the UN’s Human Development Index, which leaves more than 5th of the population living on less than two dollars per day according to the World Bank, the travels among state officials attracted public outcry, prompting the President to sign an executive order banning all official travels.

As a tax-based country, the emphasis on taxes for 2024 looks rigorous as the government looks forward to implementing strict measures.

“A person who fails to file an Annual Tax Return for Corporate Income Tax shall be liable for a penalty of 1% of the revenue reported in the return, with a minimum of D10,000 and a maximum of D250,000. Any return filed after the cut-off date (March 31st of the following year), the maximum rate of D250,000 is applicable. Penalties will be applicable immediately after the filing due date, and late payments shall attract penalty and interest charges in accordance with the IVAT Act 2012,” Hon. Keita emphasized.

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Hon. Keita said on the fiscal front, domestic revenue collection is projected to increase from 16.9 billion (12.9 percent of GDP) in 2023 to 22.8 billion (13.02% of GDP) in 2024. He noted that the positive growth trend is expected to remain constant over the medium term at an average annual growth rate of 20 percent in nominal terms between 2023 and 2027.

“This improvement reflects robust revenue mobilization efforts and the implementation of the GRA reform agenda geared towards improving compliance and expanding the tax base. With the Revenue and Tax Policy Directorate handling all tax-related matters, several reforms are being initiated to increase government tax revenue, including reviewing contracts of organizations that are not paying tax and reforms related to duty waiver and special investment certificate (SIC),” HON. Stated.

The country’s grant is also anticipated to decline from the expected D16.3 billion in 2023 to D12.2 billion in 2024, while budget support grants are expected to hit D3.2 billion in 2024 from D2.8 billion in 2023.

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