A five-day West African regional workshop on human resource management, hosted by The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) commenced on Monday at the Sheraton Hotel and Spa in Brufut.
The synergy is being organised under the auspices of the West African Customs Administration Modernisation (WACAM) project, involving five West African countries namely Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and The Gambia.
Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the WACAM project aims to contribute to the ongoing modernisation efforts of customs administrations in West Africa. The project is a direct response to priority development needs identified by customs administrations in the region.
Through regional workshops and national support missions, the project seeks to present best practices in various areas of strategic management, and to provide capacity building support to address specific needs in the field of human resource management.
Addressing the opening ceremony, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mod Secka opined that human resource is any organisation's most valued asset; that it is through the individual and collective efforts of the employees that institutions like customs administrations achieve their strategic objectives.
"The strategic and coherent approach to managing employees," he pointed out, "is significant; hence the need for focus, direction and the achievement of results."
PS Secka then expressed hope that the five-day synergy would be a rewarding and memorable one that will allow follow-up sessions based on key needs identified by individual administrations.
The acting commissioner general of the GRA, Yankuba Darboe, for his part, noted that the Authority continues to place a high premium on human capacity development.
Darboe stressed that in order for the Authority to attain her strategic objectives, the staff should be appropriately recruited and trained in all relevant disciplines and adequately motivated.
The WACAM project manager, Richard Chopra, said that 2013 has been labelled "the year of innovation for customs' progress", saying innovation could not be better represented than the human resource management staff.
He expressed hope that the synergy would enable participants 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.
Chopra said the synergy is the last of the six planned regional gatherings under the WACAM project.