By Dawda Baldeh
Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General and cabinet minister and director budget under the former regime has said the New Tax Initiated by the government on travelers using the Banjul International Airport is not a good method. Sabally was speaking to Senn Fm Radio over the weekend
The outspoken man and who is described in some quarters as the pen of Gambia said tax is a fundamental key to development and the payment is paramount. He however said before the government initiated this tax, that everyone who travels through the airport, should pay tax, that should not have happen , as that is part of the air ticket paid for by every traveler.
He argues that this added tax can cause a big negative impact on the economy by affecting tourist coming in town, and if the tourists are not coming, our youths that are working under the tourism sector will lose their jobs and that can also increase the rate of unemployment in the country he described.
Sabally continue to say the world is advancing and the government should have introduced a modern way of collecting tax rather to place a box at the airport were tax is drop. He added this method of tax collection can only be seen in The Gambia. This is the method our ancestors were using but now the world is advancing and this can tarnish the image of our country. “is like they are showing the world that we are charity beggars”, he said.
Former Secretary General at the Office of the President during the Former President Jammeh regime said, tourism sector is facing many challenges at this time of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. “Even the Honorable Minister of Tourism and Culture Hamat NK Bah have revealed that the tourism sector this year is death”. What the government needs to do is to help and resurrect the tourism sector rather to impose more loads on them by increasing more tax said Sabally.
The United Democratic Party (UDP) member added that “we all know even the world economy has been affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The time of the coronavirus is not an easy time. The government should have found a way to make economic policy that will make it easy for their people”. To find a way to rejuvenate the economy required knowledge sabally noted.
He said the twenty ($20) dollars that is imposed on every traveler is not small money to others. Sabally added that if government deducts twenty ($20) dollars from our Gambian salary to every worker, what will remain will be very little. If a traveler used the airport going and coming the person will pay the amount of forty ($40) dollars and that is equivalent to two thousand (D2000) dalasi he said.
Sabally said our relatives in the diaspora are suffering day and night. “Some even find it difficult to come and spend time with their families or even to send money to their families and if the government is asking for forty ($40) dollars to be reduce from their pockets.
Sabally was speaking to Senn Fm Radio over the weekend, he said the situation in The Gambia is different from other developing countries. The people who are just shouting that this added tax is part of development don’t have any knowledge about economic, tax should be paid but not in this way he noted.
Sabally added that the way this new tax are been collected at the airport is not good at all and there is need to abundant it for the betterment of the country. He said even the WHO guidelines are not encouraging people to collect physical currency from hand to hand and that can also contribute to the rapid spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.