Sep 28, 2012, 10:29 AM
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 17 July presented its draft report on the impact and competitiveness of its Business Awards for a critical review by stakeholders of the chamber and the general public.
The report, presented at a one-day review workshop at its Secretariat on Bertil Harding Highway in Bijilo, gave the background and inception of the Awards, which started in 1990.
In his presentation, the lead consultant of the report, Baboucar Sompo-Ceesay, took participants through salient aspects of the Awards including its objectives, expected outputs, and the approach used for nomination and selection of awardees.
The Gambia Business Awards (GBAs) are a national, all-encompassing awards programme honouring organizations that demonstrate the core values of business excellence, product excellence, sustainability and commercial success in their respective industries.
Conducted annually since 1990, the GBAs honour Gambia’s industry leaders through the acknowledgment of innovative business processes, product development, enterprise sustainability and overall business success.
The Awards also recognize the important social and environmental contributions made by organizations through excellence of service, commitment to their customers, philanthropic ideals, ethical behaviour and environmental sustainability.
The 2014 GBA dinner held on 2 May in respect of last year’s performance by companies and entrepreneurs thrives on the theme of “Building Partnerships”.
However, it was noted that the Awards process had attracted various criticisms and concerns from some quarters of the private and public sectors and the general public, which necessitated some findings on the impact of the GBAs by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) to enhance the competitiveness of the business sector in The Gambia.
The GCCI therefore solicited funding from the UNDP under the auspices of the Country Priority Action Programme (CPAP) to conduct the assessment or survey, which was undertaken by consultants Baboucar Sompo-Ceesay and Fatou Lette-Jallow.
Lead consultant Sompo-Ceesay outlined the rigorous research and survey undertaken by them to come out with the draft report.
The report critically brought to the fore prizes to winner, public review, PR review, partner with the media, quantity and quality of the awards, categories of the awards, and other essential aspects to enhancing the Awards.
After presenting his report on the impact of the Awards, Mr Sompo-Ceesay was rained with questions, comments and concerns by participants at the workshop.
While some questions bordered on having the same winners year in year out for some of the awards, others raised the need to reconsider the criteria set for nomination and selection of winners by the Chamber.
Some other salient suggestions on upgrading the Award process and introducing vital sectors into the exercise were also advanced by participants including public and private sector officials, such as economist Lamin Dampha and former GCCI presidents Abdoulie Touray of Sahel Invest and Bai Matarr Drammeh of FEWACCI – Federation of West African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“All are winners” in the realm of Gambia Business Awards, as it is out to promote performance of businesses and entrepreneurs, the activities of the private sector and the national economy, said GCCI Chief Executive Officer Alieu Secka.
“Over the years we have recognised several companies and entrepreneurs,” he said, adding that the Award process is an evolving exercise which is in the country to stay and benefit all and sundry, especially members of the private and public sectors.
GCCI Admin manager and economist Sarata Conateh, who moderated the workshop, responded to some of the questions that directly fell on the head of the GCCI.
“The main objective of the workshop is to critically review the draft report and in this exercise we welcome criticisms, comments and concerns from all in making the Awards more enriching,” Mrs Conateh said.