(JollofNews) – The Gambia’s Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure has expressed regrets at  the closure of the country’s first daily newspaper, the Daily Observer.

It said it will work towards an amicable resolution of the impasse to enable the Daily Observer  to resume operations as soon as possible.

The newspaper was Wednesday afternoon ordered to temporarily cease operation by officers of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA)  due to its non-compliance with its tax obligations.

The Ministry of Information reiterated that the closure has nothing to do with the paper’s editorial policy, but it is as a result of the its  failure to pay over D17 million tax arrears that it is owing to the GRA despite several reminders.

“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,” said Aisha Davies Ann, director of Information Services.

“Therefore, the 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.”

The ministry said GRA has expressed 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.