The customs manager attached at Basse Custom Post, Buba Ceesay, has disclosed that the border closure between Guinea Conakry and Senegal has negatively impacted the collection of revenue in the Upper River Region. He added that this is due to the political crisis in Guinea Conakry.
He raised this concern while delivering a welcoming remark during the GRA board of directors' and senior management's meeting with regional staff at the Basse Office over the weekend.
According to Mr. Ceesay, in terms of revenue, it was an unfortunate scenario that such happens as Basse is an entry point to the entire ECOWAS region.
"However, as we all know, Gambia's main counterpart is Guinea Conakry and already there are political issues affecting our sister countries," Mr. Ceesay said, adding this led Guinea Conakry to close its borders with all sister countries.
He said just recently Guinea Conakry opened the border with Mali and until today, "Guinea is yet to open their borders with Senegal which has greatly affected revenue collection in the Upper River region."
According to Mr. Ceesay, Gambia is the main transit point in the sub-region and if borders are closed, "it could cause negative impact in our revenue performance in The Gambia particularly in the Upper River Region which is the main entrance point."
According to Mr. Ceesay, the small revenue so far collected is from goods normally smuggled from Guinea Conakry to Mali. He said due to this factor, he is not proud enough to declare Basse Customs Post revenue performance for this year. "We hope that this will change sooner or later in the sense that there is on-going dialogue between the countries to make sure that ECOWAS protocol is observed to ensure free movement of goods and peoples in the sub-region," Mr. Ceesay stated.
He also used the opportunity to raise several concerns and constraints affecting their operation, citing lack of enough personnel in Basse Customs Post.
The customs manager who spoke on behalf of his staff, appealed to the GRA board and senior management through the CG's office to help his office with more personnel to enable them to effectively and efficiently collect the much needed revenue for government.