The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) yesterday, 11 February 2013 kicked off a five day regional workshop on Human Resource Management (HRM) at the Sherato Hotel in Brufut. The workshop is under the auspices of the West Africa Customs Administration Modernisation (WACAM) project And is being attended by participants from five West African Anglophone countries namely Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and The Gambia.
Mr. Mod Secka, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, in his opening statement, said employees are an organisation's most valued assets and it is undisputed that it is largely through their individual and collective efforts that organisations like Customs administration achieve their strategic objectives. He said in order for this to happen, it is critical that the work force is motivated enough to promote high level commitment and retention. " It is therefore no mistake that one of the components of the West African Customs Administration Modernisation (WACAM) project if focused on human resource management (HRM). The strategic and coherent approach to managing employees is very significant given the complexity of the person, the need for focus and direction and perhaps most importantly, achieving results", SAID THE Finance and Economic Affairs PS.
He noted that this training will give the need to keep abreast with the latest thinking and practices in the HRM profession.
Mr. Secka said the representatives of the various administrations are expected to put into practice what will be learned during the cause of the week and are also expected to train their colleagues and to advocate for improvement in the HRM.
PS Secka concluded by thanking the WACAM project for coming with such an initiative.
Mr. Yankuba Darboe, the GRA Acting Commissioner General, said since the start of operation of the GRA in 2007 following the merger of the former Customs and Excise and Central Revenue Departments through the GRA Act of 2004 the authority continues to place a high premium on human capacity development. He said the GRA is of the belief that their employees are their most trusted and valued resources.
Mr. Darboe said in order to attain its strategic objectives, the staff should be appropriately recruited, well trained in all relevant disciplines and adequately motivated, adding that it is heartening to note that the WACAM project also has a similar vision. He welcomed all participants to this 5 days HRM workshop.
Mr. Richard Chopra, WACAM Project Manager, for his part, noted that the heads of Customs of English Speaking ECOWAS countries have released their most knowledgeable HRM staff for this workshop. He expressed his optimism that this workshop will be valuable to them and their administrations. "Since all the administrations have responded favourably to the HRM is a testimony to the growing importance given to HRM in the framework of customs modernisation efforts", he said.
The WACAM Project Manager said 2013 has been labeled the year of "Innovation for customs progress" by the WCO and innovation could not be better represented than by HRM staff, since they are key partners for change and progress.
Mr. Chopra also noted that this workshop will enhance their knowledge and capacities in the fields of staff planning, recruitment and staff motivation through different exercises such as role plays and group quizzes.
He also revealed that this workshop is the last of the 6 planned regional workshops under WACAM project. He said in March 2013, the WACAM project will provide national support in the field of HRM stakeholder relations and resource mobilization to requesting West African Customs administrations.
He concluded by thanking the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agencyfor funding the entire WACAM project.