Gambia: Customs Experts Converge Over Illicit Trade, Terrorism

The World Customs Organisation and the West and Central Africa Customs experts (WCA), have opened a two-day meeting in Banjul to discuss border protection from illicit trade and international terrorism.

The event took place at a local hotel on the 20th of November, 2017.

The Commissioner General of The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), said the forum will draw attention of customs administration to include the protection of our borders from illicit trade, ensure trade facilitation, International Terrorism and the protection of the environment among others. "To tackle these problems confronting us today requires the strong support of our governments and people, adoption and coordination of appropriate strategies at both national, Sub-regional and global levels," he said.

"Currently, Customs Department is using ASYCUDA ++ at its headquarters, Seaport and all the Provincial Stations including Banjul International Airport. GRA continues to boost its international cooperation with the Sub-regional customs administrations and WCO," he said.

Darboe says security vigilance is paramount in order to avert the circulation of small arms and illicit weapons.

"We should ensure that legitimate trade thrives without unnecessary impediments and must also ensure adequate surveillance to prevent any potential threat to the security of our people and safety of the international trade supply chain," he said.

The deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance Ansumana Touray, said Customs services are central to the systems and processes that dictate the movement of goods and people across borders; that custom officers need to cooperate to provide a seamless, fair and transparent service that enhances the economic, social and security aspect of global trade, whilst retaining effective customs controls in line with their responsibility to 'collect and protect'.

"The Gambia, like most counties in the supply chain is vulnerable at all three points of entry to smugglers, illegal entrants, terrorists and international criminals," Touray said.

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