Feb 1, 2010, 3:19 PM
officials of Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) have returned from Abuja, Nigeria,
where they participated in two ECOWAS regional meetings on free movement of
goods and automated regional transit regime.
The meeting on free movement of goods is under the ECOWAS Trade liberation scheme, while the automated regional transit regime was on ECOWAS automated regional transit.
Alhagie K. Mbye, GRA’s deputy commissioner of technical support and monitoring unit and Musa Saidykhan, deputy director IT attended two meetings alongside Aziz Bala Gaye of the ministry of trade and employment.
Mr Mbye said the two meetings are important events as the West Africa regional bloc, under the Regional Customs Network for Transit Trade (SIGMAT) project will see the automation of the ECOWAS Transit corridors and harmonize its customs system through regional connection and interfacing.
He said this is considered a giant stride in the region’s integration efforts, saying the SIGMAT system which supports advance information on transit goods is aimed at facilitating customs data exchange between multiple customs administrations.
“It provides integrated customs IT solution aimed at allowing faster processing of transit goods across member states as well as enhancing trade across the region,” he said.
According to Mr. Mbye, the establishment of an automated transit regime in the community calls for new legal text that support the electronic environment and provide the legal basis for the full implementation of SIGMAT in member states.
He said the objectives of the meetings include evaluating the implementation of SIGMAT and identifying challenges with a view to proposing corrective measures; reviewing the roadmap for the deployment of SIGMAT in other member states; presenting the draft text on the community’s automated transit of goods and discuss the establishment of a regional guarantee mechanism.