President Yahya Jammeh has said the Labour Act 2007, Factories Act and Injuries Compensation Act are all earmarked for review in 2016, to ensure that national labour legislations are consistent with international standards and best practice.
Speaking at the recent State Opening of Parliament, President Jammeh also said a minimum wage and occupational health safety regulations are also being developed, and are expected to be completed before the end of 2016.
He said the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Transport, Regional Integration and Employment, as part of its mandate to promote and facilitate trade, private investment, industrial development and employment, would continue to pursue measures designed to improve the business environment, promote investment and the development of enterprises through projects and programmes under its purview with a view to contribute to economic growth and employment.
To achieve this objective, the Trade Ministry formulated the Medium Term Plan (MTP) 2016-2020 in 2015 to facilitate the implementation of its policy programme (MTEF) for 2016-2018).
He said that in pursuing its sectorial mandate, the Ministry of Trade tabled the Essential Commodity Act 2015 and GIEPA Act 2015 at the National Assembly during the past legislative year, which were “subsequently enacted into law”.
“The Essential Commodity Act will enable government to closely monitor quality, availability and affordability of essential commodities in the markets, while the GIEPA Act 2015 will strengthen the Agency’s capacity to address the concerns of investors, as well as promote the participation of Gambians in business.”
In resources mobilisation for project implementation, President Jammeh said the ministry of Trade, in collaboration with ministry of Finance and the Gambia ELF donor facilitator (Turkey), is working on organising a donor’s round-table on aid for trade projects.
“This is to support the implementation of follow-up projects of the sector Competitiveness and Export Development projects, the inclusive tourism projects, the National Export Strategy and the (MTP) activities,” he added.
He said the implementation of these programmes would significantly contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of the Gambian economy.
In addition, he said, the ministry is also working with MOFEA to have a successor project to the Growth and Competitiveness Project (GCP) to be called GCP2.
“In terms of Regional Integration, The Gambia will host the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) headquarters,” he said.
The Ministry of Trade is now working on the modalities of hosting this sub-regional body, including the signing of the headquarters agreement between the Government of The Gambia and the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the securing of a suitable site for the headquarters.
On women’s affair, the Gambian leader said his government would continue to protect the rights of women and children, particularly the girl-child.
“We shall promote their welfare and enhance their well-being as indicated in the recent ban on the longstanding cultural practice of female circumcision, which is harmful to the girl-child.
“In line with the strategies for achieving the Vision 2016 ‘Food Self-Sufficiency’ development agenda and, by extension, Vision 2020, 2025 and the African Union Agenda 2063, my Government will strengthen efforts to increase women’s participation in large-scale commercial agriculture and increase in the production and processing of all agriculture produce.”
The President further stated that women’s communal vegetable gardens would be supported with new technology to increase vegetable production, processing, preservation and marketing, improve access to water, fencing inputs and implements, as well as the construction of storage facilities and food processing plants across the country.