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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Gov’t spends D1bln on fuel subsidies in 2022

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By Omar Bah

The Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority has said the government has expended D1 billion on fuel subsidies in 2022 alone and another D282 million will be spent on diesel subsidies this month to keep the prices within the means of Gambians.

The average price of gasoline around the world is $1.43 per litre.

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“If we were to buy on fuel pump price, the petrol would have been almost D85 per litre and diesel is even worse. So, all these are monies that should have been collected by GRA and pumped into the country’s economy but the government is stepping up to help the general public, otherwise some of us would not be able to afford fuel,” he said. CG Darboe said the public should understand that the government is doing a lot to cut expenses for citizens.

Meanwhile, the GRA yesterday validated its draft customs computerise processes regulations 2022, which seek to provide the legal framework for the implementation of the ASYCUDA world system.

The regulation will be used by various stakeholders involved in the clearing of goods with the sole objective of preventing the misuse of the system.

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The ASYCUDA World, which will be officially launched by the minister of finance on Monday, will provide technical assistance to GRA stakeholders for managing international trade and transport operations in a modern automated environment.

Mr Darboe said the ASYCUDA allows for 24/7 online access to declaration processing and other system resources, speeds up the assessment of customs declarations, significantly reduces transaction time for payment and release of cargo and it improves accountability for revenue collection and cargo consignments. He said to facilitate the smooth usage of the ASYCUDA, a legal framework was drafted by the GRA legal team to regulate the system. The regulations, CG Darboe added, will facilitate the use of the ASYCUDA World system.

“The regulation will require potential users of the system to be registered and granted a unique user identifier. It imposes a certain obligation on users and prohibits the use of the system in an inappropriate manner and imposes a penalty for violation of the provisions of the regulation,” CG Darboe said.

The commissioner of customs, Ismaila Jallow said the ASYCUDA World is designed to revolutionise customs clearing processes and ameliorate customs operations and improve trade efficiency by reducing transaction time and cost. “It will also help in streamlining procedures of cargo control and clearance of goods,” Jallow said.

The director of legal and board services, Abdourahman Bah said the ASYCUDA World and the regulation will ensure that the entire process from the submission of manifest to the release of cargo will be done entirely through digital tools.

“The regulation will also regulate the system for external users because the ASYCUDA system will be accessible worldwide and when it comes to effect all customs activities have to be done electronically,” he said.

The ASYCUDA World also limits discretionary powers of customs officials, facilitates the use of risk management and selectivity principles, encourages voluntary compliance by importers, provides for real-time reporting and generation of statistics on demand, provides an opportunity for other administrations to interact with customs more efficiently.

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