GRA to reform, modernise its Trade Facilitation

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By: AJA Musu Bah-Daffeh

The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) on Tuesday, 14 December, 2021 held a workshop at Senegambia hotel to dilate on the second phase of the project which aims to strengthen its reform and modernisation efforts and to equally help develop the Authority’s business continuity plan document on Trade Facilitation.

The project was funded and technically assisted by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, meaning Deutsche Company for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

Speaking at the program, the Commissioner General of GRA Yankuba Darboe, said GRA in collaboration with GIZ and WCO have undertaken many reforms and modernisation projects to implement the priority trade facilitation measures of the WTO-TFA since 2019. Thus, he acknowledged their efforts.

Mr. Darboe added that the said projects include the Time Release Study (TRS) and Risk Management which he said they have undertaken to bring about improved efficiency in the Authority’s clearance process and procedures, adding they intend to make The Gambia an attractive place for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

GRA’S Commissioner highlighted that the Authority through its corporate strategic plan 2020-2024, has taken the implementation of trade facilitation measures as one of its strategic priority objectives.

“I assure that GRA board and management are fully committed to provide the necessary resources to undertake the necessary reforms that will enhance trade facilitation while at the same time optimizing control,” Mr. Darboe profoundly declared.

The Board Chair of GRA, Lucy M. Fye-Jagne, stated that implementing and making reforms are crucial for GRA’s development. Hence, she said, GRA has to remain stock with development that is ongoing in the region and the world at large.

Madam Jagne said GRA has taken the mantle of responsibility to build its business and trade facilitation which she thanked WCO for helping GRA in its modernisation and organisation phase.

Speaking on behalf WCO, Bernard Zbinden, the Regional Development Manager for West and Central Africa, underlined the support they render to GRA in terms of risk management and time release study, affirming the continuity of their support.

Bernard stated that equipment including 25 desktops, 60 laptops, a server to allow centralization of risk and intelligent information and other equipment for training facilities will be provided for GRA. This, he said, will enhance and facilitate standard service delivery.

He said WCO deemed it necessary to provide the equipment to further strengthen the work of GRA to serve as a motivational tool for other donors to invest in equipment donation as work cannot be done without having proper and enough equipment at one’s disposal.

He equally encouraged the custom’s mobility committee to promote and observe trade facilitation and African free trade agreement,  recognising the mutual collaboration existing between them and assured WCO’s continuous support.