The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) under the leadership of its Commissioner General, last Monday embarked on five days of intensive public awareness for stakeholders on Authorized Economic Operators (AEO).
The training was organised under the Domestic Revenue Mobilization project funded by the French.
In his opening remarks, Commissioner of Customs at GRA, Ismalia Jallow said the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) signed a declaration of intent in 2015 with WCO to implement the safe Framework of standards to secure and facilitate Global trade which includes the programme on AEO scheme to secure and facilitate trade.
“With technical assistance from GIZ, in 2019, GRA conducted a time release study at Banjul seaport which came with recommendations for customs to reform and improve its operations,” he added.
Among the recommendations, he said was to pilot an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programme for compliant traders, “and since the study was conducted customs has faced several challenges to implement the pilot programme on AEO scheme to secure and facilitate trade. Thus no AEO programme was initiated.”
In this backdrop, he said the GRA requested WCO support to build capacity and implement an AEO programme, while the GRA was able to secure donor support from the French Development Agency to support the implementation of WTO-TFA trade facilitation measures for authority operators from October 2022 to December 2023.
The objective of the workshop is to target stakeholders to build their capacity to establish an authorized economic operator’s programme in line with international standards.
A successful AEO programme requires senior-level involvement for the sustainability of the programme, he added while saying early engagement of the relevant stakeholders that cover border activities will significantly help develop and implement the programme.