Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) in collaboration with the World Customs
Organisation (WCO), with funding from German government through GIZ Deutsche
Company recently held a five-day regional training on WCO Time Release Study
The training, attracted participants from various sectors in The Gambia namely, The Gambia Police Force, GCCI, Clearing and Forwarding Agents and Senior Management of the Authority. The training was meant to expose participants to requisite skills and knowledge to periodically measure clearance and release time by using the WCO Time release study software.
At the end of training participants are expected to implement concrete measures to speed up clearance of commercial goods, thereby making The Gambia a competitive business environment.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Yankuba Darboe, commissioner general of GRA said WCO Time Release Study (TRS) is a key instrument for measuring the movement, release and clearance of goods across borders.
The forum, he said, marks another milestone in the reforms and modernisation efforts of GRA as well as building the capacity of its staff and key stakeholders with a view to making the authority a highly efficient revenue organisation that contributes to economic growth and development as specified in its current Corporate Strategic Plan 2015- 2019.
“Today TRS training is a testimony of the continued collaboration that exists between GRA and its national and international partners. The training was meant to harmonize and simplify the process and procedures of the Authority with a view to successfully implementing WTP Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which seeks to lower trade transaction costs and to introduce desirable regulatory changes that facilitate trade”.
Commissioner Darboe indicated that due to lack of coordinated border management at our borders (sea, air and land) and the involvement of different regulatory border agencies in the international supply chain, the Authority has not been able to measure actual performance of customs activities related to trade facilitation as prescribed in WTO/TFA.
“Therefore, the implementation of WCO Time Release study will undoubtedly identify bottlenecks in The Gambia supply chain and provide sound basis for planning and implementation to address issues relating to clearance time and costs. It is my hope that by the end of this training seminar, participants will acquire all the necessary skills and knowledge to periodically measure clearance and Release Time by using WCO Time Release Study Software and to implement concrete measures to speed up clearance of commercial goods by making The Gambia a competitive business environment”.
Alieu Ceesay, commissioner of Customs, described the training as very timely and went on to commend GIZ for facilitating a very important training in The Gambia and for providing the expertise during the training.
Commissioner Ceesay indicated that in order to facilitate international trade, it was important for them to look at the processes, study the training and improve it so that “if we have bottlenecks anywhere,” it can be improved.
“When we improve from this study, it will have a very good advantage for our ports.”
For her part, Manganga Fye Jange, the board’s chairperson underscored the importance of the training and the importance the authority attaches to the partnership.