Monday, July 22, 2019

Mr. President, the rainy season is here, and it is a very difficult period in our country.

Taking into consideration the state of our roads in the country, transportation becomes difficult for commuters and vehicles.

The big markets in the Greater Banjul Area are also in very bad state, with poor sanitation and sewage systems which can also serve as source of infections, mosquitoes and other public health diseases.

The rainy season is also a period of farming, which is immediately followed by the trade and tourist seasons - another source of livelihood for many Gambians.

Mr. President, these seasons create some constrains for the business community especially the commodity importers.

This is because there is usually limited availability of foreign exchange in the country and a reduction in the consumption of imported commodities since many small holder farmers cultivate what they eat during the rainy season.

Mr. President, the major importers are also confronted with unlevelled playing field.

It has been brought to our attention that the Gambia has for the first time approved bonded warehouses for some basic commodities and businessmen, but not for all.

Mr. President, this can create a situation wherein the possibility of high duty evasion could happen.

The lack of enough resources and transparent system could lead to goods in these warehouses or in transit be dumped in the country without paying duties and taxes. This, does not only compromise competition but it also denies the state much needed revenue to invest in the health, education sectors and other development projects .

Mr. President, the security agents and GRA should be regularly visiting all these warehouses and have their owners questioned about their tax payments status.

Finally, Mr. President, the tourist season is fast approaching and there is need to improve the electricity and water systems; the internet services, the road conditions, etc. in order to make the stay for tourists more convenient in the country.

Good day, Mr. President.