Thursday, May 26, 2022

GRA’s CG Urges Clearing Agents to be Professional in Executing their Duty

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By Mustapha Jallow

Yankuba Darboe, the Commissioner General (CG) of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) on Wednesday 23rd June 2021, urged Clearing and Forwarding agents to be professional in their work and conduct.

CG Darboe made these remark during a tax seminar for the Importers and Clearing and Forwarding agents at a local hotel along Senegambia high-way.

According to Darboe, the seminar was meant to create a forum by engaging with important stakeholders such as importers and clearing agents, to discuss issues affecting international trade and to prescribe workable solutions to issues hindering such trade.

Discussions during the seminar were tailored on issue related to requirements for the registration of clearing agents, proper documentation for the clearing and classification of goods, accurate inputting of data into the ASYCUDA system, compliance challenges and planned reform initiatives.

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The event which was organised by the GRA and supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), was attended by senior GRA officers, a representative from the UNDP and importers and the president and agents of clearing and forwarding agencies.

“I want to appeal to you because this is an opportunity to talk to you, agents of these agencies. I want you to be serious with your work. I also want you to be professional in anything that you do in life,’’ CG Darboe advised the agents.

He continued: “You have to take your work seriously and respect the people who are involved in international trade where stakeholders such as Gambia Ports Authority and the Gambia Maritime Agebcy including the GRA, operate.’’

According to Darboe, gone are the days now where they will see clearing agents who cannot read and write, at the level of GRA; that it is time for the clearing agencies to train their agents or recruit people who are processional and competent to do the job.

CG Darboe told participants that the seminar is a demonstration of the high regard they have for importers and clearing agents, and it is an acknowledgement of their importance in revenue mobilization; that he hoped the seminar will yield the desired results of enhancing the knowledge and skills of importers and clearing agents to international best practices as related to law, and processes and procedures involved in the clearing of goods.  

He said discussions will be centred on taxpayer compliance obligation and encouraged participants to fully participate in the deliberations by giving feedback on the processes and procedures.

Tijan Jeng, Procurement Specialist at UNDP’s Economic Management Project (Emp. Project) said the world body is proud to be associated with the GRA in rolling out tax awareness education to yet another important set of tax-payers.

Jeng said the Gambian economy continues to be tax driven economy, and in this regard, they will continue to recognise the GRA’s continued attainments and efforts in working towards achieving the increasing national revenue collection targets annually, to finance the national budget; that it is against this back drop that EMP is resolved to have GRA as their critical partner and will continue to provide the much needed support in fulfilling its mandate to maximise revenue collection,

On his part, Essa Wally, the president of association of Clearing and Forwarding Agencies (ACCFA) said they cannot operate in the absence of knowledge; that the seminar therefore has a direct link to their daily activities and said the Association will participate fully to the expectation of the Revenue Authority and will cherish the memories of the seminar.

In a brief advise to Clearing agents, Lucy Faye Jagne, GRA’s Board Chairperson described international trade as “very important’’ saying it is the heart of the Gambian economy’s activities for resource mobilisation.

She acknowledged the important role played by agents to ensure that revenue is boosted and further hoped that with shared information from the seminar, the agents will be more equipped to fulfill their mandate effectively and efficiently.

Other speakers at the workshop were Essa Jallow, Deputy Commissioner General of the GRA and Joseph Njie, Commissioner of Customs. Both gave statements on issues regarding clearing agents and their tax compliance as well. 

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