Musa O Bah & Maimuna Bonjag
Mr. Yankuba Darboe, Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has said that as a state party and implementation agency, the Gambia Government and GRA are more than willing and committed to ensuring a smooth transition from HS2017 to the HS2022 version.
At the opening of CET migration from HS2017 to HS2022 on Monday, he said this is only possible through capacity building of Customs Officers and Clearing Agents/Customs Brokers.
“The General interpretation Rules (“GIR”) are the rules that govern the classification of goods under the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS).
The Harmonized system is a standardized numerical method of classifying traded products. It is used to identify products when assessing duties and taxes and for gathering statistics,” CG Darboe explains to participants.
He emphasized that the overall goal of these five days seminars will enable Customs Officers and Clearing Agents/ Customs Brokers to understand the General Interpretation Rules to classify correctly and determine what duty rates apply to the import and export of goods.
He added that pinpoint accurate cost analysis on trading with a certain commodity before committing to a shipment ensures compliance.
According to him, this training comes at the heels of the recent adoption of the HS 2022 version by the WCO Council which the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) is currently implementing.
He further said this issue was at the center of a workshop held in Abidjan organized by the WCO in the framework of the EU-WCO program for HS in Africa.
He disclosed that participants will be exposed to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System which emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the Harmonized System is kept up to date in the light of changes in technology and patterns of international trade.
“It is important to recognize the prominence of the HS in the global trade facilitation agenda which reveals the commitment of the GRA to align with the efforts of the ECOWAS and WCO to ensure that the HS2022 version is fully implemented which would be in the best interest of all stakeholders.
This by extension will impact greatly on Customs Administration, Regional Economic integration in Africa, and the AfCFTA implementation,” CG Darboe pointed out.
He commended the EU-WCO, ECOWAS, Government, and other stakeholders in common efforts to improve service to their clients in a bid to enhance revenue mobilization.
Mr. Daniel Cardozo, an expert from the World Customs Organization and a facilitator said that the Harmonized system is one of the most successful instruments ever developed by the world customs organization (WCO).
He disclosed that it is a multipurpose goods nomenclature used by more than 200 countries, territories, and customs or economic unions, as the basis for customs tariffs and for the compilation of international trade statistics.
“Thanks to its versatile structure and multipurpose nature, The HS, is the true “Language of international trade” and customs offices we to learn how to use this language to be able to communicate with traders and with other customs Administration, but above all, to ensure a fair revenue collection,” Mr. Cardozo said at the opening of the one-week training for Customs Officers and Clearing Agents /Customs Brokers.
He highlighted that the national workshop on the classification of goods will start with basic training courses on commodity classification and the application of the General Interpretative Rules. Shortly, courses on commodity classification and the application of the General Interpretative Rules, and shortly there are plans for further capacity-building initiatives by holding advanced training courses.
He also said they are expecting that course will contribute to strengthening GRA’s competencies in the area of classification to optimize revenue collection and trade facilitation.