Yankuba Darboe was speaking recently during a courtesy called by GRA board of directors and top management on Gam Petroleum as part of its ongoing field visits.
Darboe observed that one of the biggest challenges facing the sub-region is barriers in transit trade, citing trade barriers between The Gambia and Mali, which he said, remains a major obstacle between the two countries.
This, he said, has seriously hampered speedy operations between the two countries and is mainly due to lack of respect for the ECOWAS protocols by member states.
He disclosed that currently over 90 trucks are at the Mandinary fuel depot due to transit trade barriers between the countries.
The Gambia, he went on, has signed all the protocols with all outside parties ranging from Ecowas, World Trade Organization (WTO) African Union and European Union among a host of others.
“But yet still transit trade barriers remain a cause for concern in the sub-region.”
GRA boss also indicated that the issue of transit trade should be addressed by member states in a bid to ensure smooth trade facilitation within the sub region.
To this end, he renewed his call for ECOWAS member states to adhere to the ECOWAS protocols and allow free movement of goods and peoples within the sub region.
“GRA and customs needs to work together with Gam Petroleum management to ensure that this transit trade challenges is address to ensure that transit trade stay. We as an institution or country have signed all the protocols with all the parties outside and anything related to transit or trade. So there should be free movement of goods from one country to another country.” he stated.
“I believe our neighbours and sister countries will respect these rights and allow us to do the business with Malian or Guinean or Bissau Guineans or any other country of our choice.”
Darboe alluded to the fact that the world has got to a stage that ‘we should be open and encourage each other to ensure smooth trade operations’.
For his part, Saikou Drammeh general manager Gam Petroleum spoke on their roles and responsibilities as a company, noting that Gam Petroleum is responsible for receiving fuel and keeping the stock for the country.
“We as well as engage in lot of re-export with Mali, Bissau, by extension Guinea Conakry depending on demand.”
Drammeh described their relationships with GRA as ‘very fruitful over the years’; further acknowledging the courtesy visits by GRA board of directors and top brass.
He expressed optimism that they will continue to work together for the best interest of The Gambia.