The bilateral meeting between the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) and Bissau Guinean Customs opened on Monday 7 December 2020 in Bissau.
The Gambian delegation was headed by Essa Jallow, deputy commissioner general and head of Domestic Tax accompanied by various directors, heads of Units and Departments amongst other senior officers.
The meeting that commenced on 7 December is expected to wrap up on 11 December 2020.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Diop, the adviser to the Guinea Bissau's Customs Administration, expressed profound gratitude and appreciation in receiving the Gambia delegation to Bissau.
He reminded the gathering that the meeting was coming out of the host DG's recent visit to The Gambia, which he said was expected to boost free movement of goods and people and by extension improving economies.
According to him, during his visit to The Gambia, he made an appeal for such an engagement, citing that the CG of GRA also wasted no time in honouring the request which led to the bilateral meeting after setting up a team of technical experts from the two administrations.
In his turn, Essa Jallow, the head of the Gambian delegation extended his CG's warm felicitation, expressed his appreciation over the warm welcome and hospitality accorded them.
The engagement, according to Mr. Jallow, would spur trade facilitation activities and the free movement of goods and people across their borders.
He reminded the gathering that "we owe it to our founding fathers for the socio-economic advancement of our countries through the appreciation of our cultural and historical heritages such as the same languages, same culinary, dress styles, and physical outlooks that all go to confirm that we are condemned by nature to be together."
He also used the opportunity to challenge the experts to work hard and sincerely come up with a proper framework of engagement (MOU) for the mutual benefits of "our respective countries and administrations." He also emphasised that his delegation would be more than willing to extend support and collaboration in the areas of information sharing and intelligence among others, which he said would go a long way in eliminating hardships that people/traders go through across the sub-region thus respecting the ECOWAS Protocol for the free movement of people and goods.
He harped that economic integration and cooperation is mutually beneficial for the two countries which also dictates that the cooperation should be taken to a tripartite level involving Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau which would deepen legitimate trade.
For his part, DG Customs Administration of Guinea Bissau recognised the hard work of the members of the respective technical committees of GRA and Bissau Customs.
The DG used the opportunity to convey the President's warm regards and the people of G-Bissau to the Gambian delegation.
He expressed his sincere appreciation to CG Darbo for the meeting, while thanking the team/delegation for coming over despite the COVID 19.
He said he was hopeful that the engagement will give birth to a stronger cooperation and improved trade facilitation between the two countries.