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Thursday, September 21, 2023

World Customs commends GRA’s digital transformative agenda

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By Omar Bah

The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has received strong commendation from the World Customs Organisation (WCO) for its digital transformative agenda and accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention.

Addressing participants at a five-day intensive EU-WCO Harmonisation System (HS) training on Monday, Sujin Yuk, Technical Officer Tariff and Trade Directorate World Customs Organisation (WCO), said the Gambia’s revenue collecting institution has made a lot of thrives over the years in terms of capacity building and transformation.

She said the training demonstrates GRA’s commitment to building the capacity of its staff.

“It is an excellent example of continuity in cooperation and partnership between the GRA and the WCO.The training will be conducted with different symbolic implications. First, it is a manifestation of commitment and ownership from the administration to uplift the capacities and skills of its staff,” she said. The training is funded by the European Union under the framework of the EU-World Customs Organisation (WCO) Programme.

It aims to support partner African countries in implementing the 2022 version of the HS to ensure relevant international standards in conformity with continental and regional commitments.

The GRA Commissioner General, Yankuba Darboe, acknowledged the outstanding contribution of WCO-HS experts and tariff specialists in making the first training successful and urged the participants to take the opportunity very seriously.

“The training will help the participants become familiar with the customs tariff and its classification process to lower the potential risk of misclassification of goods, which leads to wrong valuation and eventually loss of revenue,”   he said.

According to him, the first round was held from February 27th to March 3rd, 2023, and was attended by 22 officers from across different areas in customs and three clearing agents who were trained by the HS Foundation.

A representative of the EU, Lumana Kamashi, said the European Union under the Pan-African Programme, provides dedicated support to the Africa-EU strategic partnership and is the first EU plan for development and cooperation that covers the whole of Africa.

She said the EU is strongly committed to stepping up support for African partners on economic integration and trade matters.

“The Harmonised System-Africa Programme directly contributes to these objectives by boosting the capacity of customs administration, regional economic communities, and other stakeholders to ensure a coordinated implementation and uniform application of the most fundamental global trade facilitation instruments,” she said. She said the EU programme played a crucial role in the establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

Harmonised System (HS) is a commodity description and coding system. It is an internationally standardised system of names and numbers to classify traded products. It came into effect in 1988 and has since been developed and maintained by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), an independent intergovernmental organisation based in Brussels, Belgium. It is used by over 200 WCO member countries and economies as a basis for their customs tariffs, for the collection of international trade statistics, and for many other purposes.

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