By Mustapha Jallow
The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has disclosed that they will introduce a single window system meant to address the challenges people face on importation, clearing of goods, shipping, to facilitate international trade.
The new technology, according to officials, will help boost revenue collection by making it more efficient and easier.
The authority made this revelation during the Gambia National Single Window Office (GNSWO) meeting held at GRA’s Serrekunda Office on 5 May, with representatives from various organisations including clearing and forwarding agents, shipping agents, importers and those from government departments.
The meeting’s objective was to take stock of the project’s progress and to present the objectives and benefits of the new system. The project aims to simplify and streamline import and export processes by unifying all regulatory and administrative procedures in a single platform.
The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) is spearheading the project execution in collaboration with NICTC Scan, a subsidiary of Ghana Links Network Services and a Korean firm that owns the software.
The single window system, according to organisers, is meant to smoothen the trade processes, which allows an international (cross-border) trader to submit information to a single agency, rather than having to deal with multiple agencies in multiple locations to obtain the necessary papers, permits, clearances to complete their import or export processes.
Implemented by Ghana Link Network Services Ltd (Ghana Link) in partnership with NICK TC Scan Gambia Ltd and a Korean company, the system is currently in use in Ghana where it has registered positive results.
Musa Saidykhan, Deputy Director IT/MIS at GRA and Project Manager for GNSWO, emphasised the benefits of the new system while highlighting the constraints that they face in the international trade process.
He said the new system will reduce the difficulties faced by importers and clearing of cargoes.
“As we speak, to import cargo into the country, one would need permits from several agencies, requiring the person to run from one agency to another in order to get those permits. But with the coming of this new window, it would help reduce our pressures,” said Saidykhan.
He intimated that it would also address the lack of coordination between government and agencies as well as bring all agencies under one roof.
In the country, he said, some import procedures involve several government agencies, each with their own procedures and requirements, reiterating that the new window system ensures that all stakeholders have access to the same information. Saidykhan also underscored that the new system will improve transparency and accountability in the trade process.