Is there anything to celebrate? We have attained self-rule for fifty-three years now and we are still largely dependent on foreign aid. We have not been able to solve some of our most basic needs like food, clean water and energy. We still depend on importation of food. Our budget is almost entirely financed by aids, loans, grants and whatnot. Our budget deficit is high, we are highly indebted and still lack the ability to do basic things without resorting to turning to the international community for help. What is it that we are celebrating?
I was just discussing with a friend of mine who is studying accountancy at the University of the Gambia. He informed me that all they study on taxation is the UK system of tax. I asked whether they study the tax system in the Gambia and he said that they don’t’. Considering that we don’t have much when it comes to natural resources, tax is the best way to fill our national coffers. If then our people do not study this to understand and come up with ways to harness our tax system to maximize revenue, how on earth are we going to pull ourselves from the perennial poverty that has been the lot of our people for so long?
There is no doubt that our tax collectors are making a lot of efforts to collect taxes and give government money to spend on our needs but equally, it is clear as day that a good percentage of Gambians do not pay tax; or, do not pay the right rates at least. Won’t it be an excellent idea to have a tax system that will cover everyone, and which cannot easily be circumvented? Of course, that would be a great idea, but how will we implement that if our students at the highest institute of learning only study UK tax?
As I have said before, the fastest way to pull ourselves from this quagmire we find ourselves in is through education. This education system must be tailored to meet our needs and offer us ways and means to innovate and come up with our own way of doing things. The needs of the UK are completely different from our needs, so it will be futile to follow them in everything that they do. Yet, we celebrate independence from Britain!
Have a Good Day Mr President…
Tha Scribbler Bah
A Concerned Citizen