By: Aja Musu Bah
The Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), Yankuba Darboe, has explained that both the government of The Gambia and GRA are committed to ensuring a smooth transition from Harmonised System 2017 to Harmonised System 2022.
CG. Darboe made this disclosure during the opening ceremony of a five-day training of twenty GRA staff on the General Interpretation Rules (GIR), under the Harmonised System (HS) held on Monday 27th February 2023, at a local hotel, funded by the European Union (EU).
Mr Darboe asserted that HS is a standardised numerical method of classifying traded products and thus used to identify products when assessing duties and taxes for gathering statistics.
“The training will enable customs officers and clearing agents/customs brokers, to understand the GIR in order to help classify correctly and determine what duty rates are applicable to import and export of goods,” CG. Darboe highlighted. He further said that the aforementioned training comes on the heels of the recent adoption of the HS-2022 version by the World Customs Organization (WCO), which he said the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) are currently implementing.
“It is important to recognise the prominent role of the HS in the global trade facilitation agenda, which reveals the commitment of GRA to align with the efforts of ECOWAS and WCO to ensure that the HS 2022 version is fully implemented, which would be in the interest of all stakeholders,” Darboe affirmed. Notwithstanding, he said this will as well impact greatly on customs administrations, regional economic communities, the private sector and the economic integration in Africa and the AFCFTA implementation.
Daniel Cardozo, the Technical Officer at the Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate from the World Custom Organization (WCO), who doubles as a facilitator for the said training, commended GRA for building the capacity of its members. He said HS is one of the most successful instruments ever developed by the WCO.
“It is a multipurpose goods nomenclature used by more than two hundred countries territories, customs or economic unions, as the basis for custom tariffs and for the compilation of international trade statistics,” Cardozo said.
Thanks to its versatile structure and multipurpose nature, the WCO facilitator said HS is the ‘true language of international trade’ and as customs officer, they need to learn how to use this language to be able to communicate with traders and with customs administrations and to as well ensure a fair revenue collection.
Deputy Commissioner General of GRA, Essa Jallow, vehemently encouraged the participants to take the training seriously as well as transfer the gained knowledge to those who are not opportune to attend the event.
“This training will help equipped and guide you in your work as well as boost the level of revenue collection,” DCG. Jallow said.