By Amadou M Jadama
The Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment in collaboration with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recently organized an Inter-State Road Transit Test convoy from Gambia Ports Authority to Giboro, as part of the implementation of the inter-state road transit between ECOWAS member states.
The objective is to inform the public on the processes of ISRT. The ECOWAS Inter-State Road Transit scheme is designed to safeguard goods from the point of loading to their final destination in the sub-region free from harassment, delay and deviation into another territory.
Speaking to the journalists, Baturu Camara, assistant director at the Ministry of Trade, said: “Before the implementation of the scheme in July 2013, transit goods are transported through lot of difficulties.
There are lot of things required but it took us through lot of negotiations with the relevant stakeholders including GRA, customs department, the transporters, the clearing agents.”
According to madam Camara, they want to enhance the Gambia’s competitiveness in the transit road. “The test was important and relevant for the country as it shows how the processes in the ECOWAS protocol are being implemented at the field level.”
“The processes should be fair and correct that we are sensitive because it is revenue and goods that are at stake. We want to be compliant with the implementation of the ISRT,” she added.
Essa Jaw, business development and trade facilitation officer for GCCI at the GPA, asserted: “ISRT aims to ensure that transit activities can take place in an efficient, transparent and predictable manner based on international agreed standards and best practices.
“ISRT is becoming increasingly relevant in enhancing the Gambia’s competitiveness in trade within the West African sub-region as a result of the schemes sufficient and cost effective nature,” he said.
Alhagie K Mbye, seaport operations manager at the GPA, added: “ISRT is a customs procedure under the ECOWAS protocol and it governs the movement of goods in and out of the country.
“ISRT starts from the office where all goods are manifested from transit and given approval to the verification of documents and the sealing of vehicles and attachment of an ECOWAS plate for identification,” he said.
According to the report on the ECOWAS ISRT Scheme, the Government of The Gambia launched the ECOWAS Inter-State Road Transit scheme in 2008 and formally designated the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry as the national guarantor responsible for implementation of the scheme which started in July 2013.