Gov’t will continue to improve business environment - President Barrow

Monday, September 17, 2018

President Adama Barrow has said that his government will continue to explore means of improving the business environment, promoting investment and ensuring a fair trading environment for private sector development.

The Gambian leader made this statement on Thursday during the opening of the 2018 Legislative Year.

“In this direction, Government is in the process of reviewing the Labour Act, 2007 and establishing a new Trade Union Bill in order to strengthen industrial relations in the country,” he said. “This will be presented to this august body when finalized. In the interim, this sector completed the formulation of an Industrial Policy and Trade Strategy in February, 2018 for immediate implementation.” 

The Gambian leader added that both instruments are designed to provide a more focused approach in implementing trade and industrial development programmes and to reinforce investment in the productive sectors and promote exports”.

In the area of investment promotion, President Barrow further explained that government is in the process of amending the GIEPA Act, 2015 to maximize public engagement and benefits in key priority sectors. “This is part of the efforts to widen the scope of domestic taxes and reduce over-reliance on trade taxes, following the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff in January 2017, government has now harmonized the Gambian tariff with the ECOWAS Tariff.”

“As a result, “we will continue to collaborate with ECOWAS Member States to promote the free movement of goods and persons”, adding that implementation of the Eleven Million Euro Youth Empowerment Project from the European Trust Fund is ongoing.”

The President continued: “The overall objective of this four-year project is to tackle the economic root-causes of irregular migration through increased job opportunities and income prospects for the youth. The project has trained over one thousand (1000) youngsters in various skills within one year. “This is complemented by the Fourteen Million Dalasi (GMD 14,000,000. 00) Skills for Youth Employment Fund launched this year, which aims to equip another one thousand  (1000) Gambian youths with relevant technical and vocational skills in partnership with local training institutions”.

 “Also worth reporting is our partnership with The International Labor Organization and The Government of Japan to support the establishment of a USD $3.9 Million project on “Employment Creation for Youth to Build Sustainable Peace in The Gambia.”

According to the Gambian leader, the goal of this project is to promote employment opportunities for the youth through infrastructure construction, together with skills training and entrepreneurship support, adding that Particular focus is put on women, returnees, the Diaspora and refugees. “The project is expected to employ two thousand, five hundred (2,500) young people in infrastructure construction works, and within the Agriculture, Fisheries and Tourism sectors.

Author: Njie Baldeh