GRA holds discussions with Linden shop owners

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– many of whom were found to be unregistered and operating without various licenses

Officials from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Linden Mayor and Town Council met with shop owners on Thursday, June 2 to outline the legal requirements for plying their trade following the discovery that a considerable number of them are currently non-compliant.   

The team included the GRA’s Commissioner-General (ag) Ingrid Griffith; Assistant Commissioner (ag) Integrated Regional Tax Offices, Dawn Punche; Manager of the Agency’s Tax Advisory Services Section Naresha Bobb-Semple; and Manager of GRA’s Linden Integrated Office, Desiree Parkinson. Mayor of Linden Carwyn Holland, Town Clerk Jenella Bowen and Linden Town Councillors were also in attendance.

GRA’s Commissioner-General (ag) Ingrid ... gathering of shop owners in Linden.
GRA’s Commissioner-General (ag) Ingrid addressing a gathering of shop owners in Linden

The meeting was held following a request by the Linden Mayor and Town Council after    enforcement activities by the GRA, a part of which included checks on roadside vending and businesses in the Municipal market, found various unlicensed operations and unregistered businesses.

GRA, in a statement, said the shops and other business owners along with Kevin De Jonge, President of the Linden Chamber of Commerce, at the meeting, provided plausible explanations for the prevailing situation, citing a lack of knowledge and apathy on the part of businesses as some of the main contributing factors. In response, GRA’s representatives urged that the Linden Mayor and Town Council take corrective action as regularisation of shops in the Town is its responsibility.

However, it was noted that though businesses within the Municipal Market are under the purview of the Town Council, butcher shops, tobacco traders and drugstores operating in the Market are required to apply to the GRA for licences.

Mayor of Linden Carwyn Holland
Mayor of Linden Carwyn Holland at the podium

Meanwhile, the Linden Mayor and Town Council found it opportune to also use the occasion to update proprietors on the procedures for obtaining approved building plans while Commissioner General (ag) of the GRA, Ms. Griffith noted that the Agency is duty-bound by its revenue collection targets and therefore, emphasized the urgency needed in having the businesses acquire their licenses and other required documents in order to become compliant. She pointed out further that the GRA remains willing to work with the Town Council and the shop owners to arrive at mutual progress. She added that any concerns expressed by the business owners would be relayed to GRA’s Governing Board and the Ministry of Finance.

GRA noted that its enforcement activities, which have been ongoing for some time now, incorporate compliance inspections of all businesses in the various Regions of the country. With a cross-section of issues facing various communities within the Regions, the Commissioner-General had proposed inter-agency networking to address all concerns and minimize most of the issues affecting the business community with the ultimate goal being to enhance compliance and generally the ease in doing business.

“We would like to ensure that you are compliant stakeholders and taxpayers and that you contribute to the revenue needed for the development of our country,” Ms Griffith was quoted as saying.

 

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