By Kebba AF Touray
Top Officials from the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), have returned from Abuja after attending the ECOWAS regional meeting on the free movement of goods and the automated regional transit regime.
The first meeting focused on the free movement of goods under the ECOWAS Trade Libralisation scheme, while the second was on ECOWAS’ Automated Regional Transit.
The Gambia was represented by Alagie K Mbye, GRA’s Deputy Commissioner for Technical Support and Monitoring Unit; Miss Saidykhan, GRA’s Deputy Director and Aziz Balla Gaye of the Trade Ministry.
Alagie Mbye described the Regional interface as a success and cited that the SIGMA Project will guarantee the automation of ECOWAS Transit Corridors and harmonizes its customs systems through regional connection and interface.
“This is considered a giant stride in our integration efforts. I congratulate the management of GRA for the teamwork and commitment that has paid dividend in the operation of this latest technology”, he said; that “the SIGMAT system which supports advance information on the transit of goods is meant to facilitate customs data exchange between multiple customs administrations”.
He averred that this provides an integrated customs IT solution to ensure faster processing of transit goods across member states as well as enhance trade across the region.
Mbye continued that the establishment of an automated transit regime in the community calls for a new legal text which supports the electronic environment and provides the legal basis for the full implementation of SIGMAT in member states.
He further stated that the objectives of the meetings entails evaluating the implementation of SIGMAT and to identify challenges with the view to proposing corrective measures; review of the roadmap for the deployment of SIGMAT in other member states; present the draft text on the community automated transit of goods and to discuss the establishment of a regional guaranteed mechanism.