A three-day bilateral meeting between The Gambia Revenue Authority and the Senegalese Customs has concluded in Banjul.
Organised by the GRA, the meeting, the eighth of its kind, brought together customs experts and other stakeholders from the GRA and the Senegalese Customs Administration. The closing also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between The Gambia Revenue Authority and Senegalese Customs.
Yankuba Darboe, Commissioner General, GRA, said he is confident that the signing of the MoU will now graduate the two administrations into the level of implementation and share the gains together. “The discussions were highly mutual and beneficial to our work with the hope of improving understanding between the two administrations,” he said.
The GRA boss noted that those gains will greatly improve trade relations between the two nations and beyond. “As we are aware the forum was born out of many follow-up and consultations between the two sister Customs which we celebrated as a huge success.”
Commissioner General Darboe said the two administrations are to work towards deepening the gains already made and continue to share the great news with all the players and other relevant stakeholders in the business such as traders, drivers and agents. He said the two administrations promised to work towards implementing agreements that are aimed at bringing harmony, free trade and economic improvement for the people of The Gambia and Senegal.
Paul Badjie, Executive Secretary of the Senegalo-Gambian Permanent Secretariat, said the meeting has come at a crucial time. “The meeting has broken the long silence that has existed between the two countries; we are two countries with one unique people.”
Badjie noted that the meeting has opened ways to series of other meetings that the Senegalo-Gambian Permanent Secretariat is calling for to ensure the two countries resolutely move not only towards harmonising their respective policies but to move towards integration. “The ambition of the two countries is to serve as a model of integration not for only the West African sub-region but the entire African continent.”
Professor Salieu Njie, Senegalese Ambassador to The Gambia, commended the two administrations for signing the MoU. “The signings will harmonise the customs of the two countries and it will resolve difficult issues of free movement of persons and goods, to arrive to that is a big plus for the heads of the two administrations.”
Papa Ousmane Gueye, the Director General of Customs Administration of Senegal, described the MoU as a unique document. He noted that the governments of Gambia and Senegal have attached lots of importance to the bilateral meeting. “I have the conviction that the meeting will have a realisation of common objectives through the cooperation that they want to establish.”
Gueye noted that the Senegalese government will spare no efforts in trying to come up with operational implementation of the memorandum and recommendations issuing their own deliberations.
by Omar Wally