draft GIEPA Regulations 2016 was on Tuesday validated at a workshop held at the
Paradise Suites Hotel.
Facilitated by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment and the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), the draft regulations underwent the consulting services of Amie Bensouda & Co, PL and were developed as the GIEPA Regulations 2016, after a series of consultations with stakeholders.
The GIEPA Act 2015 was assented to by the President in December 2015.
In her welcome remarks, GIEPA CEO Fatou Mbenga Jallow urged all participants, particularly those from the private sector, to critically look at it and participate in the process as the set of regulations is what would help them in implementation to ensure objectives are achieved.
Lamin Dampha, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, said one of the major differences they had in the current Act is a focus on promoting domestic investment.
He said the Act aims to ensure the three key functions of GIEPA (enterprise support and development; investment promotion and facilitation; business development and export development) are given attention.
Mr Dampha also said the Act is trying to create a balance whereby the co-functions of GIEPA are given equal attention in administration of the Act.
The regulations are made in response to the needs of investors, as well as pending challenges of the investment environment.
He also pointed out that they are competing globally for the few investors, and they have to promote them, adding that in doing so they have to ensure their environment remains very competitive and attractive, which means they must continue to respond to the needs of investors to ensure their needs are featured in policy processes in order to remain as one of the most attractive destinations for investors around the world.
DPS Dampha challenged participants to critically look at the Act to ensure they do not gather in a year or two to review the document again.
They need the right policies to ensure the flow of investment reflects in the economy, he added.
The CEO of Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in his remarks, said generally regulations should safeguard businesses and the environment, as well as ensure they have the best industrial practices.
CEO Alieu Secka added that, in particular, the regulations allow the Ministry of Trade and GIEPA to manage investment and export promotion, but they must never lose sight that they are all players or stakeholders in the private sector.
He said that MSMEs – micro, small and medium-scale enterprises - constitute 99 per cent of businesses in The Gambia, hence having regulations is quite important.
Secka added that an updated data-base of SMEs – small and medium enterprises - would assist in matching data of enterprises from that of a single business regulation, as well as assist GIEPA in matching of businesses, particularly foreign investors.
“Imports and exports are crucial to our economy,” he noted, and therefore the regulations would assist all and sundry to know and adhere to the rules and regulations of import and export procedures, including documentation.
The regulations also create transparency through the GIEPA setting, as well as with the institutions and enterprises, thereby enhancing relationships and helping in the smooth running of the day-to-day activities of GIEPA.