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Gambia, Senegal on re-opening of Basse-Bajara transit route

May 31, 2010, 1:40 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

Senior Custom officials from The Gambia and Senegal last Thursday met at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi to discuss among others, the re-opening of Basse-Bajara transit route linking to Mali, which was since 2005 closed.

In his keynote address, the Commissioner-General of Customs, Mr. Momodou Kabba Tambajang said the preoccupation of President Jammeh and Wade is to integrate and develop The Gambia and Senegal and Africa as a whole.

Therefore, he added, it is incumbent on both The Gambia and Senegal Customs officers to ensure that this desired wish is achieved by facilitating legitimate trade and free movement of people and goods through more direct and legitimate routes.

Tamabjang underscored the pivotal role of The Gambia as a heaven of peace and prosperity, as well as Senegal in the sub-region, adding that Customs officers of the two countries must not loose sight of the dangers of proliferation of small arms and illicit weapons.

To ensue that duties and taxes are paid and legitimate trade thrives without unnecessary impediments, he said, Customs officers of the two countries must also ensure adequate surveillance to prevent any potential threats to the security of the two countries and safety of international trade supply chains.

According to Mr. Tambajang, this requires cordial working relationship and full cooperation with various customs administration in the sub-region, including international security agencies in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and smuggling of other social vices.

"It is for this reason that Director Generals of Customs Administration of Senegal, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry and The Gambia continue to strengthen their co-operation, share experiences, challenges and information," he said, adding that The Gambia and Senegal are the same people.

For his part, the newly appointed Director General of Senegalese Customs, Mr. Mouhamadou Mactarr Cisse underscored the importance of the Basse-Bajara transit route, noting that "its re-opening would serve as a cadre of exchange between The Gambia and Senegal customs officers."

Meanwhile, as part of their visit to the country, Senegalese Customs officials accompanied by their Gambian counterparts Thursday paid a courtesy call to the Ministry of Finance in Banjul.

During the call, the officers held discussions on the joint customs post intelligent exchange on frauds-automated, customs interfacing connectivity, facilitation of ECOWAS trade liberation scheme ETLS, implementation of interstate road transport, intelligent exchange on frauds, intervention and practical cases and adopting of reports.