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International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper examines economic developments in The Gambia during 1994–98. Although real output growth slowed significantly in the early 1990s and turned negative in 1994/95, both 1997 and 1998 were characterized by an upswing in real economic activity. The 1994/95 output decline of 3.4 percent was primarily owing to a significant downturn in tourist activity. The recovery in the tourist sector and the more favorable weather conditions led to real GDP growth of 4.9 percent in 1997 and an estimated real growth rate of 4.7 percent in 1998.

Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Jiro Honda, Hiroaki Miyamoto, Keyra Primus, and Mouhamadou Sy
How can Low-Income Countries (LICs) enhance tax revenue collection to finance their vast development needs? We address this question by analyzing seven tax reform experiences in LICs (Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Maldives, Mauritania, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda). Three lessons stand out, although reforms must be tailored to individual circumstances: (i) Tax reforms require first and foremost political commitment and buy-in from key stakeholders; (ii) Countries that pursue both revenue administration and tax policy reforms tend to see much larger and persistent gains; and (iii) A successful strategy often starts with fiscal reform measures with immediate effect to build momentum. These can include: simplifying the tax system; curbing exemptions; reforming indirect taxes on goods and services (e.g., excises); and better managing compliance risks through strengthening taxpayer segmentation (often beginning with strengthening the Large Taxpayers Office). A comprehensive reform strategy (e.g., a medium-term revenue strategy) can help to properly sequence reform measures and facilitate their implementation.