The Nigerian delegations will also be visiting key places in the country including The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), Gambia Ports Authority, the Nigerian High Commission in The Gambia and the GRA Giboro Border Post in the West Coast Region among others.
Addressing the customs delegations, Alhagie K. Mbye, GRA commissioner of Customs spoke on the importance of fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among customs officials in the 21st century.
Customs administration in the 21st century, he said, has evolved significantly in recent years. “In the 21st century, the role of customs extends far beyond revenue collection. We are the gatekeepers of international trade, safeguarding our nations against illicit activities while facilitating the legitimate flow of goods. We play a crucial role in trade facilitation, ensuring the smooth movement of goods across borders, which is essential for economic growth and development,” he posited.
Commissioner Mbye maintained that the GRA over the years has embarked on a series of transformations and reforms that were geared towards ensuring meeting international standards.
“These reforms have been instrumental in our journey towards customs modernisation and efficiency,” he noted.
“We have partnered with the World Customs Organization (WCO) to conduct Time Release Studies. This initiative is aimed at reducing the time and cost associated with customs clearance processes, ensuring that goods move swiftly and efficiently across our borders,” Mbye revealed.
The GRA, he went on, has successfully migrated from the Harmonized System (HS) 2012 to the HS 2017, and most recently to the HS 2022. “This alignment with international standards ensures that our customs classification remains up-to-date, facilitating accurate tariff determination and trade facilitation.”
The GRA commissioner of Customs added: “We have made significant progress in the migration to Asycuda World – a modern and integrated customs management system. This transition streamlines customs operations, enhances transparency, and facilitates trade by providing a user-friendly platform for customs processes.”
This system, he said, streamlines trade processes by allowing businesses to submit all required information through a single electronic platform, simplifying import and export procedures.
He reiterated that the Gambia accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) reflects “our commitment to international best practices in customs administration. This convention promotes simplified, modern, and harmonized customs procedures, which will benefit both our nation and our trading partners.”
Essa Jallow, GRA’s deputy commissioner general spoke on the bilateral relationship between The Gambia and Nigeria, saying: “The two countries have come a long way since independence and that they share a lot in common.”
“These reforms are testaments to our dedication to customs modernisation and the facilitation of legitimate trade. We believe that by embracing these changes, we do not only improve our customs operations, but also contribute to the economic growth and development of our nation.”
The GRA second in command encouraged the visiting delegation and the GRA officials to learn from each other during the visit with the desire of ensuring that they deliver up to expectations.
Chief Supt. of Customs, D.D. Ortsen, who is a student at the Nigerian Customs Command and Staff College, spoke on the significance of their visit. “Your lectures have been very informative and educative and it has increased our knowledge on Africa continental free trade. It has also given us an insight into the operational and administrative structure of the Africa continental free trade. We want to assure you that the knowledge gained here shall be put into good use in our college and in our future endeavours.”