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GRA trains more staff on tax digitalisation

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As the country is gradually prioritising tax digitalisation, the Gambia Revenue Authority is preparing its staff for the challenges ahead. At least 2 staff drawn from GRA and clearing agents are currently undergoing a five day intensive training on the harmonised commodity description and coding system, also known as the Harmonised System (HS). It is a tariff nomenclature of an internationally standardised system of names and numbers to classify traded products. The five-day training is funded by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the European Union Cooperation Fund.

Daniel Gardozo, a WCO expert and lead trainer, commended the GRA for moving fast in its digitalisation process especially in the areas of capacity building.

“The harmonised system is one of the most successful instruments developed by the World Customs Organisation and it is used by more than 200 countries as the basis for customs tariff and compilation of international trade statistics,” he said.

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He said participants will be engage on commodity classification, application and general interpretation rules.

Addressing participants, Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe said as a state party and implementing agency, the Gambia Government and GRA are committed to ensuring a smooth transition from the HS2022 version saying such a transition is only possible through capacity building of both customs officers and clearing agents.”

CG Darboe said the general interpretation of rules are governed by the classification of goods under the harmonised commodity description and coding system.

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He said the harmonised system is a standardised numerical method of classifying traded products.

“It is used to identify products when assessing duties, taxes and for gathering statistics,” he added.

CG Darboe said the overall goal of the five-day seminar is to enable customs officers and clearing agents to understand the general interpretation rules in order to be able to properly classify and determine what duty rates are applicable to import and export.

“It would also help them to pinpoint accurate cost analysis on trading with a certain commodity before committing to a shipment, thereby ensuring compliance. So, this training comes at the heels of the recent adoption of the HS 2022 version by the WCO council which ECOWAS are currently implementing,” he said.

He said the adoption of HS 2022 was at the center of discussion during a recent regional workshop in Abidjan organised by the WCO under EU-WCO programme for HS 2022 in Africa.

CG Darboe added that the training would expose participants to the harmonised commodity description and coding system which will impact greatly on customs administration, regional economic integration in Africa and the AfCFTA implementation.

Darboe commended the EU, WCO, ECOWAS and the Gambia Government for supporting the GRA in its transformation drive.

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