Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has once again been applauded for a ‘’reliable,
valid and smooth operation’’ in dealing with the EU and other foreign and
commercial ships reaching the shores of the country as ‘’vessels to Gambia
A communiqué to The Point newspaper reveals that ‘’despite uncertainty and riskiness’’ during the standoff when Yahya Jammeh refused to hand over power to the democratic elected government, GRA continues to operate ‘’smoothly and effectively’’ without much distraction.
The revelations emerge following the United Nations’ strong desire in helping developing countries such The Gambia to not only improve port performance but also to achieve better integration and involvement into global trade.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), established in 1964, as a permanent intergovernmental body, is the organ dealing with trade, investment and development issues. Its goal includes maximizing trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries.
This correspondent inquiring the status of The Gambia, regarding such important matters, established that the country is ‘’improving at an impressive speed’’ especially with its current democratic leadership. The GRA’s conduct in maintaining a ‘’smooth and secure’’ operational mechanism is also a factor.
The UN earlier reported that globally in the overall port industry, the container sector experienced significant decline, with ‘’growth rates for the largest ports only just remaining positive’’.
However since the EU officially retracted advice against the country indicating that it has ‘’stabilized and remained peaceful’’, most vessels ‘’continues to ply The Gambian route, or are willing to do so in the near future’’.
It is important to note that the EU is profoundly concerned in terms of maritime security and as such willing to aid the West Africa Sub Region’s performance in that area.
For example, few weeks ago, the ECOWAS Commission received technical equipment donated by the German Government for a functional and productive operation of its Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC). Partners hope that it will help towards strengthening regional maritime security.
Various Zones have been duly identified in accordance with the desired needs and The Gambia falls under the category of Zone G- including Senegal, Capo Verde, Guinea Bissau and Mali.
According to EU maritime experts, the West Africa Maritime territory, which accounts for the region’s significant economic resources, is threatened by ‘’illicit activities’’ including human trafficking, armed robbery at sea, toxic dumping and unregulated fishing.
Nonetheless, it has also been revealed that previously there was a legal requirement for shipping cars to The Gambia including the shipment of a left hand drive unless you have a waiver certificate.
But officials stressed that with the help of the GRA website, it is ‘’now clear with little or no ambiguity’’ as tax payments and other requirements are ‘’explicit and easy to understand’’.
Author: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent