Gambia: GRA-Bissau Customs Bilateral Meeting Ends

17 December 2020

The weeklong bilateral meeting between the heads of Directorate Generals of Customs, Guinea-Bissau and The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) recently ended on a high note, with the two institutions renewing their commitment to further consolidating the already existing bilateral ties between the two sister institutions.

Addressing the closing ceremony, Yankuba Darboe, commissioner general of GRA, expressed appreciation for the warm hospitality accorded to him and his delegation by his Bissau Guinean counterparts.

"This signifies the good intention to make this collaboration a huge success. This is because we are one people in two different countries which is an opportunity for closer and excellent trade relations and the development of our region." he added.

Commissioner Darboe acknowledged that as close trading partners, there is an urgent need to enter into a tripartite agreement involving Senegal to minimise bottlenecks in the free movement of goods and people.

He commended experts for doing justice to the assignment by coming up with an excellent report.

The head of Directorate General of Customs, Guinea-Bissau, Mr Sanca, for his part, commended the technical team for coming up with such a report.

He also used the opportunity to thank all the stakeholders for their inputs, adding that the convergence happened less than two months after his meeting with his Gambian counterpart, Commissioner Yankuba Darboe, who even demonstrated more commitment and willingness in making this a possibility.

Mr. Sanca further expressed his determination to ensure that the full implementation of the various accords and recommendations for the common good of 'our peoples through trade facilitation.'

He also outlined the need to establish a tripartite agreement among Bissau, Banjul and Dakar. This, he believes, will enable them overcome all bottlenecks that hinder the free movement of goods and people.

"While I appreciate your visit and the great work done in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, allow me to wish you a safe journey back to the Gambia".

Also speaking, Secretary of State for Fiscal Affairs at the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Seof used the opportunity to express his appreciation for the bilateral meeting, which he said, is the first of its kind between the two revenue administrations.

"This demonstrates the ties that bind our two countries. This is the beginning of a stronger cooperation and collaboration between the two revenue administrations." he added.

The meeting was followed by the reading of the report which was endorsed. The high point of the closing ceremony also saw the signing of the accord by the two heads of the revenue administrations, Mr. Sanca and Mr Darboe with the following recommendations to be pursued in the coming year.

Recommendations

Establish Customs Cooperation Committee between the General Directorate of Customs of Guinea Bissau and The Gambia Revenue Authority as provided in Article 36 of the Protocol; Initiate a tripartite meeting between The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau as soon as possible in order to sign an agreement; Institute annual alternate meetings to review progress on the implementation of the various agreements; Regular exchange of information in the area of transit and, exports, re-export trade.

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