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GRA hosts WCO regional forum

Nov 27, 2014, 10:18 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Gambia government through the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) is currently hosting a three-day sub-regional forum of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) under West Africa Customs Administration Modernization (WACAM) project phase 1-final regional event.

Those attending the regional meeting include delegates from the ECOWAS Commission, WACAM project managers, WCO regional development for West and Central Africa, delegates from customs administrations in West Africa, GRA top management and other representatives from the sub-region (except countries affected by Ebola - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Conakry).

The three-day forum, which got under way at the Kairaba Beach Hotel yesterday 26 November 2014, and gives participants the opportunity to review the project’s achievements, lessons learned and discuss the way forward. It is funded by the government of Sweden.

In his welcome remarks, the commissioner of Domestic Taxes at the GRA, Ensa Jallow, recalled how GRA in February 2013 hosted the regional HRM workshop for members of Anglophone countries.

Since then a lot of things have happened, and in the case of the GRA, Mr Jallow said: “We have registered a lot of successes in the area of HRM.”

He said the support received over the period of 21 months had contributed significantly to GRA’s reform and modernization process.

Mr Jallow reported that “our HR Unit has been transformed into a forward-looking, proactive and credible strategic partner.”

He said with the development of the HR strategy, including other documents, processes and procedures, the HR Unit of the GRA is now more poised to contributing to the attainment of the GRA’s vision and mission objectives.

Mr Jallow urged the participants to make best use of the opportunity. “We are grateful for what the project had already given us, and so wish to thank the government and people of Sweden for their generosity,” he said.

In his official opening statement, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Abdoulie Jallow, commended the WCO for allowing the GRA to host the final regional event of the 1st phase of the WACAM project.

Mr Jallow stated on behalf of beneficiary administrations and the entire region: “I wish to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the government of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), for the magnanimous show of support and development assistance.”

It is even more gratifying to note that the successes registered in phase 1 had resulted in the birth of phase 11, which is to kick-start in 2015 for another 4-5 years, he added.

Mr Jallow also went on to highlight some of the benefits the GRA had registered, through and influenced by the WACAM project.

According to PS Jallow, after the February 2013 HRM workshop, the GRA in April 2013 seized the opportunity and sent a request for support.

Within 15 months, after the last HRM workshop, Mr Jallow said, “it is heart-warming to report that the GRA has developed its first-ever HR Strategy 2014-2019, which was approved by the GRA board in April 2014.

“It is worth noting that the HR strategy, which was aligned with the GRA vision and mission objectives, is anchored on three building blocks, and further supported by a strategic implementation plan.

According to PS Jallow, the project is continuing to its 2nd phase.

“The review meeting, therefore, gives us the opportunity to look back to see what went well, and what did not go so well,” he said.

“This gathering should also be used to learn from our successes and mistakes, so as to do better in the 2nd phase.”