Gambia: Gov't concerned over closure of Daily Observer newspaper

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The Gambian government has expressed concern over the “temporary” closure of the premises of the Daily Observer Newspaper, saying the move had nothing to do with the paper's editorial policy.

In a statement, made available to PANA on Monday, Gambia's Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, said it learnt with concern of the closure of the paper by the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) due to its non-compliance with its tax obligations.

“The Ministry, however, wishes to reiterate that the closure has nothing to do with the paper’s editorial policy, but it is as a result of the Observer Company’s failure to pay over D17 million tax arrears that it is owing to the GRA despite several reminders,” the statement noted.

“The Ministry has been reliably informed that in the past, the GRA had reached an agreement for a payment plan but the Observer Company had failed to honour its own part of the agreement.”

Therefore, the statement added, GRA was relying on the powers conferred on it by Section 215 of the Income and Value-Added Tax Act 2012 which gives it the authority to temporarily close down any persist defaulter.

It was also revealed that GRA had, however, expressed the hope that the temporary closure would open a window of opportunity to renegotiate a way forward with the Observer Company with a view to settling the outstanding arrears.

“Once again, the Ministry regrets the action and will be working towards an amicable resolution of the impasse that would enable the Daily Observer resume operations as soon as possible,” the statement concluded.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 19June2017

19 june 2017 14:09:25

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