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GRA boss tells Gambians to safeguard country’s peace

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The Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority, Yankuba Darboe, has urged Gambians to jealously safeguard the country’s peace and stability for meaningful development to take place.

Addressing a signing ceremony between GRA and Clearing and Forwarding Agents on Wednesday, CG Darboe said the country cannot realise its development aspirations in the absence of peace.

He said the government needs the support of all individuals especially the tax collectors to complement its development activities.

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“We all know the government relies heavily on taxes without which they will find it very difficult to accomplish their development programs. So, I urge all of you to come together and unite as one family in the interest of the country,” CG Darboe added.    

Turning to the MoU, CG Darboe said the agreement will foster solid working relationship between the two institutions.

“It will create a forum for proper and efficient management of customs clearing and forwarding agents and strengthen the relation between the GRA and ACCFA while facilitating trade,” he said.

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CG Darboe said the agreement will also facilitate easy access for importers and exporters of goods and commit both parties to share necessary information whenever requested by the other party. 

He said the agreement also seeks to build confidence between the GRA and the clearing and forwarding agents who serve as interface between the authority and the importers and exporters.

“They also play a very crucial role in facilitating the collection of taxes. This is why whatever we do, we engage them to ensure they feel that sense of belonging,” he said.

He said the many reform processes introduced by the authority will facilitate a smooth working relationship between the GRA, the clearing agents and importers.

“We always endeavour to ensure that the GRA is close to the people that matter to its daily activities,” he added.

He urged the association to advise its members to desist from any dubious activities that contradict the rules and regulations of customs and assured them of GRA’s continuous support.

GRA’s Commissioner of Customs, Alhagie Mbye commended the good relationship and partnership the GRA continues to share with the clearing and forwarding agents.

The deputy commissioner general, Essa Jallow said the GRA cannot afford failing to forge a close relationship with the clearing agents.

“In the enforcement of laws guiding the GRA, we will have to closely work with them as the representative of the importers and exporters. We are signing this MoU so that we will own up to our responsibility to ensure that we will cooperate in a way that will be beneficial to both entities. If you look at the GRA, a lot of initiatives have been tried and they have either been rolled out or about to be rolled out but we cannot do this alone,” he said.

He said customs accounts for about 51 percent of taxes collected by the GRA.

The president of the Gambia Clearing and Forwarding Agents, Essa Wally, commended the GRA for coming up with the idea of inking a memorandum with them, saying it will help them in supporting the authority to carry its activities.

The MoU is also expected to provide monitoring and evaluation mechanism for clearing and forwarding agents including but not limited to their conduct, activities, and compliance with customs and excise Act, organised and provide training and capacity building exercises on customs and excise laws and regulations and any data system used by agents for the clearing and forwarding of goods among others.

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