By: Momodou Justice Darboe
The Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr. Yankuba Darboe, has described the study tour to The Gambia of Nigerian Customs College students as a glaring acknowledgment of GRA’s conformity with internationally recognized standards in customs administration, adding that the tour is not a source of pride and comfort for the GRA alone but the entire country as well.
The GRA boss made these remarks as he gave an address to touring Nigerian customs students at the Revenue House’s conference hall on Tuesday.
Seventeen students from Nigeria’s Customs College are currently in Banjul for a week’s study tour during which, they will visit some strategic GRA installations as well as meet and associate with the authority’s staff.
According to CG Darboe, GRA’s resolve to raise Gambia’s flag higher and project the best image of the country at the international level will never wane under his leadership.
The Commissioner General, through the Government of The Gambia, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, the GRA Board, and Management expressed Gambia’s “heartfelt” appreciation to the Federal Republic of Nigeria for allowing the 17 customs students to travel to Banjul for the study tour.
The Gambia’s revenue mobilization chief prided that the tour should serve as a huge morale boost for GRA staff and encourage them to do more. He also pointed out that The Gambia should be proud and excited that Nigerian customs students are here to learn, adopt, and adapt best practices from the GRA, the country’s population, and the number of degree holders in the country notwithstanding.
CG Darboe expressed optimism that The Gambia will match Rwanda’s pace of development, saying all are now heading to the Land of Thousand Mountains for a study tour.
“We do not doubt that as time goes by, with unity, The Gambia will be like Rwanda in terms of fast development. Rwanda is a country in Africa, where all of us including GRA, are going for study tours. If they can turn their country into a model in Africa, we can also do it here in The Gambia,” he stated.
“Inshallah, with time, many countries will be coming to The Gambia for study tours,” Darboe added as he recalled the study tour that some people from Uganda made to the country in 2022 in partnership with the GRA.
“Ugandans came here for a study tour last year and this year, Nigerians are here for a study tour. It is coming and it’s just a matter of time. We have to come together as a team and work towards our common objectives as a country,” Mr. Darboe highlighted.
He explained that the rationale behind the tour of the students of Nigeria’s Customs College is to enable them to get exposure to procedures and practices on customs operations.
He commended the Management and Board of the GRA through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs for their steadfastness in the authority’s reforms process, reiterating that GRA has embarked upon ambitious reforms to enhance the capacity of staff and revenue generation. He pointed out that many institutions in the country are desirous of following in GRA’s footsteps.
CG Darboe meanwhile urged the visitors to learn from GRA’s structures and how it reinforces its staff capacity. He also urged them to be attentive to the GRA staff so that they can return to Nigeria knowledgeable and enlightened about GRA’s operations and the secret behind the success of its reforms. Darboe assured the students of his support during their stay.
The Deputy Commissioner General of GRA cum Head of Domestic Taxes, Mr. Essa Jallow, described the study tour of Nigeria’s Customs College students as another milestone achievement for the GRA, explaining that the tour is the second of its kind.
“We appreciate this and surely this will avail them the opportunity to share and gather a lot of materials that will be helpful to their career,” DCG Jallow added.
He thanked the Nigerian customs administration for the trust and confidence it has in GRA in allowing customs students to come to The Gambia to learn best practices.