By Mustapha Jallow
Yankuba Darboe, the Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), on Wednesday urged Clearing and Forwarding Agents not to allow their stamps to be used by certain individuals in what he regarded as malpractices.
He made this remark during an Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Association of Customs Clearing & Forwarding Agents held at Assaraya Hotel in Banjul, on 22 December, 2021.
“Take your job seriously. You all have stamps that have bearing of your company, name, your phone number and everything. So, don’t allow your stamps to be misused. In the past, we have history for some of the clearing agents that abused their stamps by allowing other people to use it and it will end up resulting in situations that are undesirable,” GRA boss advised.
According to him, it is not their desire as GRA to block Clearing & Forwarding agents, saying they have an “enforcement” system where they could stop or block any clearing agent who involves himself into malpractices.
“We will not even come to your office. We will block you from our system that can’t be able to make any declaration,” CG Darboe warned members of Clearing & Forwarding agencies.
He further advised them to ensure that their stamps are controlled by themselves, adding that anything cleared by clearing agents should also come forward to GRA and pay their levies.
“You are our partners in development but I want you (clearing agents) to be professional in your work. When you are professional, you will not make serious mistakes. I will also advise you to train your staff to be professional as well because once they do that, then the job becomes easier,” he further advised.
For his part, Essa Wally, the acting president of the Association of Clearing and Forwarding Agencies (ACCFA), said necessary decisions were taken that aimed at the transformation of the Association. He added that this has culminated in many agreements with the GRA and other stakeholders.
“We embark on a manpower spot checking after a series of complaints received from some importers on the constant problems they are having with some so-called Customs Clearing Agents,” said Wally. “To prove to them that those are not recognized nor are they registered Customs Clearing Agents, we embarked on the survey.”
According to Wally, they will not do justice if they fail to thank the GPA, Customs sea port Manager and the seaport Police for their collaboration in making their Manpower spot checking a success.
“We have also written to the GRA for us to have an MOU of which we have submitted and I can confidently not hesitate to tell you that there will be one which will work in the interest of both parties,” he said.
“I must emphasise that for the very first time the attendance was excellent and we want to urge members to take such occasions very seriously in order to upgrade our intellectual capacity,” added Wally, acting President of ACCFA.