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ECOWAS should step in

Feb 24, 2016, 10:39 AM

Following the new tariff of D28,000 implemented by The Gambia, which has resulted in the Senegalese commercial vehicles boycotting the Gambian routes, it is essential that ECOWAS, the regional body, and Senegalo-Gambia Permanent Secretariat, intervene to get the authorities of the two countries and transport unions resolve the feud, which has been occurring time after time, once and for all.

For several years, commercial vehicles from both countries have not been finding it easy to enter each other’s territory.

The problem should be thrashed out amicably because border closure between neighbouring states gravely affects trade and economic development of the nations concerned, and by extension, the West African region.

Authorities of both nations should be made to see reason to resolve the issue through intelligent negotiations rather than taking measures that will affect both sides, as nobody will win in especially a trade war.

Such a border feud will affect economic activities of the two countries, and the people will definitely feel the pinch.

Therefore, the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of people and goods should be respected.

Any related political decisions including tariff increment to be made by any party should be channeled through the Senegalo-Gambia Permanent Secretariat, for proper negotiations and agreement. This would help in fostering understanding and cooperation between the transport unions and authorities of both countries.

The Gambia and Senegal are two sister countries closely-knit as well as condemned to live together by virtue of geography.

We should always avoid anything that would cause disunity. Gambia and Senegal should be an example of African unity.

Differences are expected to occur between people, unions, associations and governments, but it is always better to discuss, negotiate and find amicable solutions to disagreements.

We should not allow bad blood to run through us; dialogue is always the way, hence it is very vital that we go down that lane to find solutions to our problems.

We are reiterating that it is essential that the two state authorities develop the culture of meeting occasionally over such pertinent issues of free movement of people, good and services. This will enhance and healthily maintain our trade and socio-economic relations, as well as promote peace and tranquillity between the two nations.

We are, therefore, calling for a peaceful solution to this lingering issue of frequent border closure between our nations.

“Negotiation, negotiation, negotiation”   

The Point