Jul 21, 2014, 1:20 PM
(Issue,Monday 30 March 2015)
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has gone from strength to strength over the years and its sterling performance in the year 2014 is something to write home about.
The current board and executive of the private sector apex body have moved mountains by registering remarkable growth in almost all its areas of operation, especially in its financial performance and service to members of the chamber.
“Two years ago, when this new board was elected, we promised our members good governance, best practice, responsiveness, engagement with government and financial discipline. I am pleased to report that we have remained steadily on course and herewith present the strongest performance in the GCCI’s history,” said GCCI president Muhammad Jagana, in a statement read on his behalf by his vice president Papa Yusupha Njie, at the chamber’s 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM), held on Friday at its Kerr Jula Secretariat in Bijilo.
The chamber registered a net surplus income of D5,255,144 for the year 2014 from a deficit of D215,430 for 2013. It also grew its net assets to D23,673,631 for the year under review from D18,358,468 for 2013.
In their independent opinion, based on their audit of the financial status of the chamber, auditors of Meridien Consulting, the chamber’s auditing firm, stated: “In our opinion, the financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry as at 31st December 2014 and of its surplus and activities for the year then ended.”
Key projects in 2014
In 2014, GCCI has been very instrumental in expanding international trade activities, promotion of economic growth, and generally successful in fulfilling its mandate.
The chambers was able to register strong results in such projects as Trade Fair Gambia International (TFGI), ‘Marche Jula’, business forums and consultative meetings, GCCI Business Awards (GBA), capacity building for businesses.
According to the chamber, the number of exhibitors at the TFG 2014 increased to 257 with 37,700 visits from 1st to 16th March 2014, whilst participants from 15 different nationalities from Africa and Asia were present.
With support from their partners, the chamber “continually holds regular meetings and business forums” with key sectors and principal drivers of the economy, which “highlights an array of challenges and proposed solutions that are beneficial” to the Gambian private sector and its relevant stakeholders. “GCCI has organized several forums to strengthen the capacity business enterprises in 2014,” the chamber’s activity report stated.
“Following the completion of a Training Needs and Business Information Needs Assessment of the business community in The Gambia, a schedule of training programmes identified in the assessment report was implemented during the course of 2014,” the report went on.
“One of the specialist training programmes that were implemented was a five-day ‘Executive Development Programme’ on International Business and Trade conducted by one of the leading business schools in India, the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT). Support received from the Enhanced Integrated Framework Project also facilitated the training of 25 GCCI members on business proposal writing.”
For almost 25 years now, the GCCI Business Awards (GBA) has been conducted as an annual event, and the achievements of nominated candidates “are now measured against set criteria developed by stakeholders and players of key industries in the economy.
“In 2014, the GCCI introduced an Award Council comprising representatives of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, University of the Gambia, the Gambia Bar Association and DT Associates,” the report added.
As The Gambia celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year, the chamber chose the theme: ‘Supporting Sustainable Enterprises’, which provides a platform to address pertinent challenges its members encounter in this day and age.
“The Chamber believes that promoting sustainable enterprises should revolve around strengthening the institutions and systems which nurture these businesses , as well as ensure that human, financial and natural resources are combined equitably and efficiently in order to bring about innovation and enhance productivity,” the president’s statement said.
“This also calls for an improved partnership between the government, the private sector and the civil society to ensure that the operations of the private sector in The Gambia will generate more employment and enhance the livelihood of the many Gambians involved.
“We continue to improve upon our dialogue and engagement with government, which have also led to more pro-activity including invitations to state missions overseas, the first pre-budget consultation in many years, the launching of the Public Private Partnership unit, imminent reactivation of a National Economic Council, amongst many others.”
He added: “We work for business everyday, whether they see us or hear us. When we succeed in increasing viable opportunities for private enterprises in the country, everyone becomes a beneficiary. The private businesses will expand their market, enhance their sales and employ more people; consumer spending will increase; the Government will receive more taxes to be able to finance the development of the country; commercial banks will receive more deposits and savings from customers for their investments; and the male and female entrepreneurs will enjoy greater profits, have more income, provide adequate food, healthcare and education for their children and families.”
The GCCI president commended the staff and board of directors of GCCI for their support in the past year, and thanked the Government for their increased partnership with the private sector over the year.
The AGM, moderated by GCCI’s Director of Corporate Services Beatrice Prom, was well attended by members of the chamber, as well as members of the public sector, including the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE).
“We will make sure that the partnership is maintained,” Trade ministry’s PS Naffie Barry said at the AGM, relating to the relationship between the ministry and the chamber.
Members of the chamber also made salient interventions, scrutinizing, advising and commending the chamber on its activities and performance over the past year.