EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Gambia’s finance and economic affairs minister, Mamburay Njie said government is working on the introduction of an electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) and a road cargo tracking system for transit trade, through the ministry of trade, regional integration and employment.
“The tracking systems will enhance revenue mobilization as well as boost the re- export,” Mr Njie told National Assembly members on Friday during the deliberation of the 2020 budget estimates.
He said the introduction of the systems would also be beneficial for all operators in the international trade activities –GPA- importers and the Gambia revenue Authority (GRA).
On Friday, finance Minister Njie also tabled a bill entitled an Act to provide for the services of The Gambia from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, amounting to Twenty-one billion, three hundred and fifty million, six hundred and forty-six thousand and nine hundred and forty dalasis (D21, 350, 646, 941).
Enacted by the President and the National Assembly, the Act covers annual total expenditure catered for all the ministries and government departments. It is also called the Appropriation Act 2020 and comes into force on 1st January 2020 to 31st December 2020.
He first tabled the budget estimates before the Assembly in late November and since then, deputies have been debating it. Last week, they spent over twenty hours on the budget but yet couldn’t not finalise.
“The system will provide the Ports Authority the planning platform on berth management, as real time data will be available and accessible on all imports to the Port of Banjul, helping address some of the congestions at the port,” Mr Njie said.On importers and GRA, Mr Njie said the ECTS will provide real time information on the status of their imports through electronic alert system, thus fast-tracking custom clearance time and processes.
Over the years, Gambia Ports Authority and Gambia Revenue Authority have been accused of involving in corrupt and fraudulent activities.
In August this year, GPA ordered for a bank transfer of over D700, 000 to a contractor for the construction of a police station at President Barrow’s home village of Mangkamang Kunda which sparked a wave of disapproval and criticism from the citizens.
“With regards to the RCT system, it will provide revenue assurance for the GRA as the system ensures for all goods destined for transit exit through Gambian borders,” he said.
Minister Njie said this will help in addressing the challenges where transit goods find their way back to Gambian markets without payment of necessary duties.
On youth employment matters, he said the ministry has collaborated with Gambia Investments and Exports Promotion Agency (GIEPA) and Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) to set up a business incubation centre. “It will help to enhance capacity in entrepreneurship and leadership skills and create an estimated 500 jobs for youth,” Njie added.
He said GIEPA continues to get support from the entrepreneurship and private sector development project that is funded by UNDP, to conduct entrepreneurship trainings.
Finance minister Njie noted that the programme has helped to reintegrate returnees into Gambian society through IOM funded training programmes. “The trainings were conducted across all 7 regions in the country. Additionally, 245 returnees will be trained and form groups that will be supported by IOM to start business ventures,” he revealed.
Story written by Juldeh Njie