By Buba Gagigo
The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) is hosting a two-day conference of Directors Generals of Customs of West and Central Africa at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Center in Bijilo. The conference is being organized by the World Customs Organization (WCO), which develops international standards, fosters cooperation and builds capacity to facilitate legitimate trade, to secure a fair revenue collection and to protect society.
The opening ceremony of the conference was presided over by President Adama Barrow on Thursday morning, with several cabinet ministers and other dignitaries in attendance.
In his opening remarks at the two-day conference of Directors Generals of Customs of West and Central Africa, President Adama Barrow said that his government recognizes the crucial role that Customs plays in promoting economic growth, ensuring national security, facilitating international trade, collecting data, and protecting the environment and cultural heritage.
“To register greater results in these areas, it is critical to take steps that would adequately prepare and equip the next generation of Customs officials to ably face the challenges of the future. This is achievable only through a culture of information, knowledge, and data sharing, which is essential for the development of Customs officials and the efficacy of our systems,” president Barrow said.
The president emphasized that customs administration is a constantly evolving field, and that it is essential for new generations of officials to be trained on the latest developments and trends.
“By sharing knowledge and experiences, it is easier to learn from one another and adapt to changing circumstances more quickly and more effectively. In addition, in view of the laudable contribution of Customs services to the world, knowledge sharing is necessary to promote a culture of professional pride, value, and respect within the sector,” president Barrow said.
The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) Commissioner General, Yankuba Darboe, urged his counterparts to cultivate a culture of cooperation between their various customs administrations.
“In the spirit of the theme of this year’s conference, Nurturing the Next Generation by promoting a culture of knowledge Sharing and Professional Pride in Customs. I will argue you all to share your innovation insight and perspective to strengthen the corporation and foster a culture of co-operation between our various customs administrations.
“As our economy continues to intergrade at regional and Continental level, it has become even more necessary for us to co-operate and support one another. In this conference, we focus on exploring innovative ways to strengthen cognition and collaboration among our various customs administrations. In collaboration, we can find innovative solutions to common problems, improve our operational efficiencies, and promote greater transparency and trust between customs and the business community,” he said.
The theme for this year’s International Conference is: Nurturing the Next Generation by promoting a Culture of Knowledge Sharing and Professional Pride in Customs.