In his keynote address, the Commissioner General of NRA Dr. Samuel S. Jibao said that the move will facilitate trade and generate more revenue for the country there by meeting the 20% GDP target by 2023.
Dr. Jibao said that the in-house banking and the and real time declaration tracking system and the introduction of email and SMS services will create effectiveness and transparency between clients and brokers as they work towards a web-based system and paperless operation.
Dr. Jibao said that the SMS and email system will directly notify customers the exact cost of clearing and forwarding contrary to whatever price that may have been quoted by the brokers as well as inform them about the whereabouts of their containers.
Dilating on the declaration tracking device, Dr. Jibao said that the device will be able to inform him about containers that have undergone all procedures, detect any anomalies and to also avoid delay. This and many others, he said, are part of the ongoing reforms at NRA.
The Financial Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Sahr Jusu said that the NRA is not just an enviable institution but the life-blood of the sustainability of government project. He commended the new dispensation for hitting the ground running as they have been able to pay civil servants on time and meet key government priorities. He said that in the past, commercial banks used to hold billions of government proceeds, adding that the narration has changed immediately under their leadership.
Deputy Commissioner General Mrs. Jeneba K. Bangura, who chaired the launching, said that the introduction of the Saturday banking was due to the constraints clients were facing particularly the break on Saturdays.
The General Manager of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority Dr. Abdulai Fofana said that such innovation by NRA will put them in full operation throughout the week. He assured the Authority that they will continue to make the port business friendly, safe and reliable.
Dr. Fofana cautioned members of staff of the Ports and NRA to desist from taking parts in the clearing and forwarding activities as such should be done by professional brokers.
Representatives from the Commercial Banks Association, Importers Association, Clearing and Forwarding Agencies, Freetown Terminal Bollore, Nectar-SL Shipping Agency all expressed their profound appreciation of the weekend operation as it will ease business transaction.