The eighth bilateral meeting between The Gambia and Senegal Customs Administrations is currently underway at the Coco Ocean Resort and Spa.
The three-day synergy, that brought together participants from the two neighbouring countries, is expected to discuss issues such as exports and re-exports, and challenges in transit trade among others important issues of mutual interest.
Yankuba Darboe the Commissioner General, Gambia Revenue Authority, said the inadequacy of proper consultation since 2010 has resulted to the evolution of certain operational challenges that affected cross border trade and international transit between the two countries.
“We are all aware that our respective governments tasked us to objectively look at all the operational challenges currently affecting cross border and transit trade between the two countries so as to come up with tangible, practical and easily implementable solutions to such challenges,” he said.
The GRA boss noted that being able to organise the meeting on the scheduled dates, as recommended in the joint communiqué signed by the two governments, is a clear testimony to the bilateral ties that exist between the two administrations.
‘’I, therefore, urge the experts to work together and put in place good recommendations that can be implemented to facilitate both transit and cross border trade as enshrined in the ECOWAS protocol on the free movement of goods and persons.”
Alieu Jarboh, deputising the Board Chairman of the GRA, noted that when there is improved relation and mutual understanding between the two revenue bodies, business and trade facilitation is enhanced and the socio-economic benefits become far reaching.
“This will, in a very significant way, encourage foreign direct investors to come and invest in our respective countries, thus creating more job opportunities for the young people and will beef-up peace and stability for the two countries which will translate into greater development.”
Lamin Camara, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance, said results from past bilateral meetings have always generated huge successes by keeping the brotherhood bond together. “Information sharing is a key element that enhances trade facilitation and increases revenue collection which is critical in your job as revenue collectors.”
Papa Ousmane Gueye, the Director General of Customs Administration of Senegal, said the bilateral meeting is a proof of a strong commitment to work together towards a coordinated management of their borders.
“The meeting will give us the opportunity to re-establish a common will to reinforce the friendly relations of brotherhood and solidarity that link both our peoples, which is a token of fruitful cooperation.”
Gueye said some significant developments have taken place in the sector of interconnected computerised system in customs services with the region of Customs World Organisation for West and Central Africa.
Abdou Jobe, Minister of Trade, said the forum will yield successful dividend, adding that the relationship between the two countries is ordained by God Almighty.
“All of us found this relationship here and it will continue after we are gone, therefore, we have the moral obligation and responsibility to ensure that we nurture the relationship so that there is peace and tranquility between the two countries.”
Minister Jobe added that regional organisations like ECOWAS and AU have found The Gambia-Senegal integration in place. “Our integration between Gambia and Senegal existed before all the regional integration so it is important for us to do everything possible to co-exist,” he added.
by Omar Wally & Alieu Ceesay