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Gbalamuya Customs Post of National Security Relevance

Gbalamuya Customs Post of National Security Relevance

The National Revenue Authority (NRA)’s head of the Gbalamuya Customs Post, Daniel Sesay, informed this writer that the post which borders Guinea and Sierra Leone is a major trading hub for thousands of mainly female indigenous Sierra Leonean importers/exporters, and its importance should not be seen in merely statistical revenue terms, but of National Security importance, especially given the recent political tumult in neighboring Guinea. (Photo: AB Finnoh, Deputy Commissioner of Customs)

Sesay said that the election in Guinea has somehow adversely affected revenue collection, but, things are picking up. 

He bemoaned the number of porous border cross points in the district, but, enthused that there is increasing support from the people who are being sensitized using the local FM radio station.  “Even the okada riders in the Kambia district are cooperating with the NRA in ferreting and identifying smugglers”.

Sesay commended the PSSD staff stationed in Kambia for having secured the support of the people in combating smuggling.  ‘The Preventive and Special Services Duty Officers are always patrolling most of these crossing points…’

Prince M. Massaqui, the deputy in the Customs Gbalamuya Post, praised the Sierra Leone Police who he said have been very supportive in their struggle with smugglers. The Customs officers also praised the NRA Senior Management for giving them logistics and material support.

Customs, one of the operational departments within the NRA, has been contributing greatly to Sierra Leone’s development agenda, since it has continued to generate hundreds of billions of Leones for the government. As part of NRA’s modernization efforts, there has been the introduction of an automated system for customs processes and procedures. The introduction of ASYCUDA has helped in addressing the problems of delay in the clearing of goods and also in reducing contacts between importers and officials of Customs. It has been seen by importers as an encouraging move in facilitating trade.

Customs department under the NRA has key functions, among them; generating revenue for government, ensuring national security and facilitating trade. It has offices in Kambia, Koindu in the Kailahun district and Gendema along the Sierra Leone Liberia border.

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  • I just finished reading the article on Gbalamuya Customs, the border between Sierra Leone, and wish to state that in the police efforts to combat smugglers, some of the police officers at the check point ought to practice zero tolerance against corruption. In 2005, I was traveling from Freetown to Conakry, and when we arrived at the customs on Sierra Leone side, I was asked to pay a fee for myself and my two teenage children. I asked why and was told that’s the way it works. We had our passports and visas. At first I refused to pay and told them I would like to phone the American Embassy in either Freetown or Conakry to report the matter. However, in the end I gave in because the other travelers were telling me to pay so that the driver will continue on. This was very disappointing because as long as I can remember it has been that way. My parents and other family members are in Guinea and I can recall going back and froth for holidays and encountering the same issue. It is about time this fraudulent act stops. Thank you.

    7th September 2010

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