GOOD MORNING MR. PRESIDENT: On new sports levy on GSM operators

Monday, May 20, 2019

Mr. President, news of a new sports levy on the GSM operators is welcome as a progressive one. Effective 10th June 2019, the sports levy will be introduced after the approval of the National Assembly and the Cabinet.

Mr. President, The Gambia with all its claims and counter claims has little to show as achievements in sports. This is equally replicated when it comes to sporting structures as a source of inspiration to the youthful population, most of whom are looking to sports as life-changing avenues.

Mr. President, for far too long, sports in all their facets have suffered under all previous governments. Their failure to understand sports and all its potentials as a crucial economic factor in the life of a young country like The Gambia, made sure of this.

In this light, the amount of monies expected to be raised in this exercise can be a game changer for all our sports; it will usher in a renewed hope for all Gambian athletes in all disciplines.

Mr. President, Africell has been in the forefront of support over the years. It has even gone to the extent of footing the bills of the head coach of the national team. Since then, it has continued to support many sporting activities in The Gambia.

One might even be tempted to say that Africell, by its super numerical number of subscribers in the market will undoubtedly raise lot of funds through this new levy. With this new approach, Africell would still want to remain at the forefront of supporting Gambian sports by virtue of their continuous support in the sporting arena.

I hope other institutions/companies, like the petroleum and lottery companies, will also be tasked with the development of other crucial but neglected sectors of our society. Such will accelerate our national development in no small way.

Mr. President, the amount that is to be envisaged here is huge. Both sporting enthusiasts and doubters are beginning to question the modalities of how these funds are going to be utilised.

All international incoming calls per minute will get 50 bututs to the sports development. For all local calls, there will be 1% on air time purchase. All these monies will come from GSM operators.

Mr. President, The Gambia is really lagging behind in sports because of financial constraints. Many sporting disciplines cannot compete in the international arena due to the lack of financial support. We expect the money gained from this to be put in good use and managed by credible people. Sport is no longer leisure but investment. Sports can also bring foreign exchange for the country just as many others are now enjoying.

Mr. President, the current state of the National Sports Council and personnel are far from anything that could resemble a qualified spending arm of the ministry with their skeletal staff.

We suggest that you take a keen interest in this new development initiative and guard it jealously as the youths of this country need just that.

Good day, Mr. President.