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Thursday, June 20, 2024

CG Darboe tells stakeholders to embrace gov’t reforms

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By Omar Bah

The Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority, Yankuba Darboe, has urged his staff, Clearing and Forwarding Agents to embrace the government’s reforms.

Addressing the validation workshop of the Post-Clearance Audit Regulations yesterday at the Senegambia Beach Hotel, CG Darboe said reform is the only means for the country to realise its potential.

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“There cannot be business as usual and people must accept government policies. Days are gone when people will deliberately refuse to accept government policies,” he said. 

Commenting on the Post-Clearance Audit Regulations, CG Darboe said an effective post-clearance mechanism has the effect of improving Gambia’s score in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report by shortening the time release period, which will ultimately help attract investors, promote economic growth and strength the Gambia’s position in the global marketplace.

“By conducting verifications after goods have been released, we can expedite the clearance process for businesses, minimising delays and fostering a more vibrant trading environment,” he stated.

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CG Darboe added that the effectiveness of post-clearance audits depends on the availability of a robust and sound legal framework.

“Therefore, the regulations which you are here to validate, will provide the essential foundation for the PCA Section to operate with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. This aligns perfectly with the principles outlined by the WCO and WTO for a global standard of streamlined and effective customs procedures. The absence of clear regulations can significantly affect the PCA Section’s ability to fulfil its mandate.

“These regulations will establish a transparent, predictable audit process, fostering collaboration between the GRA and trading community. Also, businesses will have a clear understanding of the audit process to facilitate compliance during the audit process,” he stated. 

The Deputy Commissioner General, Essa Jallow, said: “For a revenue administration, the first step is to have the legal and regulatory framework that guides everything that we do. When we talk about compliance, it should begin with the GRA because we cannot subject others to compliance when we don’t have laws and regulations that guide our practices. So, this is very important and that is the reason why we bring these stakeholders so that tomorrow when we are doing anything they will know that it’s informed by the Customs and Excise Act and relevant regulatory frameworks.”

He said management has made significant efforts to make the Post-Clearance Audit Regulations more effective and functional because modern customs required PCA’s as a very important outfit.

“It will help us to be able to support our work with structures that are part of the GRA,” he stated.

The Consultant from the Liberian Custom, Daniel Jaiblai, said in order to have a functional post-clearance audit you need to have a legal and regulatory framework.

“Tax administration is purely legal. To administer tax, you need to have the laws to back you and that is why we drafted this legal and regulatory framework,” he said.

Clemence Cazaux, the French Development Agency country representative commended the GRA’s commitment towards its digital and legal transformation and assured them of her institution’s continued partnership and support.

The Commissioner of Customs and Exercise, Alhagie Mbye, said the document was internally validated at the level of GRA but they deemed it important that other stakeholders that would be impacted by the document will be given the opportunity to review it and proffer their own recommendations.

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