By: Kebba AF Touray
Sulayman Sawaneh, the Customs Manager at the Amdallai Customs Border Post, has informed the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) Board and Management that as at 18th June 2021, the Customs Border Post collected ninety-six million, nine hundred and twenty-two thousand, five hundred and fifty dalasi (D96,922,550.00) as revenue for the state.
Sawaneh made the disclosure on Friday 17th June 2021, during a visit ti the said border post by authorities of the GRA Board and Management.
Accoeding to Sawaneh, they have an average target of D6.5 million per month, and this made their target for the last six months at D39, 120,000; that at 18th of June 2021, they collected D96, 922,550.
This he said, represents an increase of over D57 million over the revenue target; that in the month of June 2021, their set target was D6, 584,564.
“With barely some few days of the month to go, we have so far collected D10, 135, 000,’’ he said; that the Amdallai border post has a strategic location, being the shortest route that links the capital cities of Banjul and Dakar by land. The post continues to assume a leading role in tge country’s revenue performance, as compared to other out stations.
Baye Nyass, the Manager at Farafenni Customs Border Post, informed the visiting GRA delegation that they operate all round the clock to combat smuggling.
“We have instituted two check points that are independently managed. This sometimes hinders the smooth flow of merchandise into our territory, which subsequently hinders our efforts towards the maximization of revenue collection,” he said.
Nuha Manneh, Tax Manager at the Farafenni Tax Office, also informed the visiting GRA delegation that presently, they have achieved 65 percent of their revenue target and assured them that they will do their utmost to attain the remaining 35 percent soonest.
Buba Bojang, Customs Officer at the Soma Post, decried the exorbitant charges in crossing the Senegambia bridge. This he said is discriminatory towards them because they are the only institution paying such charges whilst their sister entities in the area, do not pay such a fee.
Alhagie Kabiro Barrow, Tax Manager at the Soma Domestic Tax Office, also lamented to the visiting GRA delegation that inadequate energy supply and poor internet connectivity, pose challenges to their work.
Kebab Kanyi, Customs Officer at Brikama Ba, also told the visiting GRA delegation that they have been surpassing their revenue targets for the past five months and this he attributed to the spirit of team work at his office. He hailed the GRA for the provision of a borehole which he said was meant for the office, but is now being utilised by the community as well.
Buba Ceesay, Customs Officer at Basse, hailed the GRA Management for the continued support to his office, enabling them to execute their work with ease; that the closure of borders between Guinea Bissau and Senegal has affected their revenue collection, and thus called on the authority to engage all stakeholders with a view to address the situation.
The information remains the same for the visiting GRA delegation as officers of various border posts cited connectivity and inadequate energy supply as constraints affecting the smooth running of their tax collection performance, and they called on the authority to help engage the relevant stakeholders to provide remedies.
Joseph Njie, Commissioner of Customs, urged his officers to be collaborative with their sister forces and challenged border post officers to portray themselves in a proper manner, in order to safeguard the image and integrity of both the GRA and the country and to ensure the smooth running of their stations.
Deputy Commissioner of GRA Essa Bah, informed the customs border post officers that at the moment, their average monthly revenue target is nothing less than D1 billion; that they are giving their best to ensure that the needed revenue is mobilised in a timely manner. He also informed them about ongoing reforms at the GRA such as moving to the ASYCUDA world, operational reforms and leveraging on technology utilised by banks, to ensure that staff are able to make their fair share of their contribution.
Lucy Faye Jagne, Chairperson of the GRA Board, congratulated the tax collectors for their excellent performance and implored on them to keep up the momentum, respect each other and execute their responsibilities in line with the law.
Yankuba Darboe, GRA’s Commissioner General, said the visit was aimed at seeing the conditions of customs officers at various border posts, know their success stories in revenue collection, identify their challenges and provide remedies to these challenges.