Seventeen Nigerian customs officers are currently in The Gambia on a weeklong exchange visit with their Gambian counterparts and as the GRA welcomes them into the country on Monday, the Commissioner of Customs AlhagieK. Mbye said the role of customs transcends revenue collection.
Commissioner Mbye stressed that customs officers play a crucial role in trade facilitation, explaining that the role of customs in the 21st Century cuts across revenue mobilization.
The idea behind the visit of the Nigerian customs officers to Banjul is to enable them to learn from the best practices of the Gambia customs administration.
The visitors will be taken around places such as the GRA Head Office in Banjul, the Gambia Ports Authority(GPA), Giboro Post, and the Nigerian Embassy in The Gambia.
In his address to the visiting Nigerian customs officers, Commissioner Mbye underlined the need for the sharing of best practices and knowledge among customs officers and the significance of collaboration in the 21st Century.
He reiterated that the role of customs in the 21st Century rises above revenue collection.
“We are the gatekeepers of international trade, safeguarding our nations against illicit activities while facilitating the legitimate flow of goods. We play a crucial role in trade facilitation, ensuring the smoothmovement of goods across borders, which is essential for economic growth and development,” Commissioner Mbye explained.
According to Mr. Mbye, GRA has partnered with the World Customs Organization (WCO) to conduct Time Release Studies. This initiative, he added, is aimed at reducing the time and cost associated with customs clearance processes, ensuring that goods move swiftly and efficiently across our borders.
“The GRA has successfully migrated from the HS 2012 to the HS 2017, and most recently to the HS 2022. This alignment with international standards ensures that our customs classification remains up-to-date, facilitating accurate tariff determination and trade facilitation,” he explained.
The Deputy Commissioner General of GRA also the Head of Domestic Taxes, Mr. Essa Jallow, said the Gambia and Nigeria have come a long way since the colonial and independence eras, recognizing the bilateral relations between the two.
He pointed out that the GRA has accomplished some reforms, adding that they are testaments to “our dedication to customs modernization and the facilitation of legitimate trade”.
“We believe that by embracing these changes, we are not only improving our customs operations but also contributing to the economic growth and development of our nation,” Mr. Jallow stated.
He added: “Together, we can shape the future of customs administration in the 21st Century and continue to strengthen the ties between our two nations. During your stay with us, I want to assure you that our doors are always open, and our support is readily available. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that your visit is productive, enlightening, and beneficial. Feel free to engage with our customs officers, exchange ideas, and explore our customs processes and procedures.”
Source: Voice Gambia