Yankuba Darboe, Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has urged the agent of tax Clearing & Forwarding Agencies to be professional in their works and conducts.
He made these remark during an importer and tax clearing and forward agents tax seminar held at Kololi recently.
The seminar was meant to create a forum to engage with one of their most important stakeholders – importers and clearing agents. It also served as platform to discuss issues affecting the international trade and prescribing workable solutions to the issues hindering international trade.
The discussions in this seminar were tailored around issue relating to requirement for registration of clearing agents, documentations for clearing, goods per classification of goods, accurate inputting of data into the ASYCUDA system, compliance challenges and planned reform initiatives.
The event was organised by the GRA and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and it was as well attended by senior GRA officials, representative of the UNDP, Importers, President and agents of the clearing and forwarding agencies.
“I want to appeal, because this is an opportunity to talk to you guys (agents). I want you to be serious with your work. I also want you to be professional – in anything that you are doing in life if you are not professional in it, then you have big problem,” GRA boss advised clearing and forwarding agents.
He added: “You have to take your work seriously and respect the people that are involved in the international trade, where you have lot of stakeholders such as Gambia Ports Authority, Maritime, including GRA and so on.”
According to CG Darboe, days are gone where they will have or see clearing agents who cannot read and write, saying it is high time for the clearing agencies to train their agents or recruit people who are professional and competent to do the job.
“This seminar is a demonstration of the high regard we have for importers and clearing agents. It is also an acknowledgement of the importance of the role of importers and clearing agents in our revenue mobilisation mandate,’’ he told the participants.
Tijan Jeng, Procurement Specialist at UNDP Economic Management Project (Emp. Project) said the UNDP was proud to be associated with GRA partnership and initiatives of rolling out the awareness education to yet another important set of tax-payers.
“The Gambia continues to be a tax driven economy, in this regard, we continue to recognise GRA’s continued attainments in working towards achieving the increasing national revenue collection targets annually to finance the national budget. It is against this back drop that the EMP is resolved in having GRA as a critical partner and will continue to provide the much-needed support in fulfilling its mandates to maximise revenue collection,’’ said Jeng who represented the UNDP Resident Coordinator.
“We cannot do this in the absence of knowledge; therefore, this seminar has a direct link to our daily activities. The Association and I will participate fully to your expectation and will forever cherish the memories of this seminar,’’ said Essa Wally, President of association of the Tax Clearing and Forwarding Agencies (ACCFA).
More so, he said: “When we unite the two, we can shape the destiny of this country economically through GRA. It is essential for the personal fulfilment of each and every Clearing & Forwarding Agent. Education determines whether we get a decent and rewarding job. And education empowers us to become commander of our destiny.”
Meanwhile, Mrs. Lucy Faye Jagne, GRA Board chair, described the international trade as “very important, saying it is the live brain of the Gambian economy activities and resources.
She acknowledged the important role the agents are playing to ensure the revenue continue to be boosted, adding that more than 60/7 per cent of the revenue collected are coming from importation and international trade, import and export activities.
Mrs Jagne urged the clearing agents to be highly professional when dealing with their work, so that all stakeholders involve will be comfortable. She also hoped with this seminar the information shared will equipped them (agents) more, so that they can be able to fully their mandate excellent
Other speakers included Essa Jallow Deputy Commissioner General of GRA and Joseph Njie Commissioner of Customs, who gave their statements on issues of the clearing agents and compliance of taxes as well.