Sep 24, 2009, 5:23 AM
The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) on 14th September 2011 organised a day-long consultative forum on the GIEPA regulations at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms Fatou Jallow CEO of GIEPA said that the forum was the second of its kind.
According to her, prior to this forum, GIEPA held a similar session in June which looked at the GIEPA Act 2010, and spoke the government and private sector’s support in terms of the regulations emanating from that Act.
She stressed that the key issues were to see how the government and stakeholders could work together on how best to encourage more investors and enterprises.
The regulations, she went on, are meant to help the government and investors in doing business in the country, among others.
She implored businesses to adhere to other laws of the country, as the purpose of the GIEPA law is to guide investors.
“We should look beyond the GIEPA mandate to see what can be done for the local people,” she said.
Modou Lamin Ceesay, deputy Permanent Secretary, at the ministry of Trade, said the stakeholders’ forum amply demonstrated the recognition of the role that investments and exports can play in the socio-economic development of the country.
He was optimistic that the enthusiasm exhibited with respect to the task at hand will ultimately enable GIEPA and other stakeholders to have an agreeable operating document.
“Successful execution of this GIEPA mandate will facilitate job-creation and generation of revenue, including foreign exchange,” he stated.
In his presentation, Omar E. Garcia, a consultant, indicated that the regulations forum also gives an opportunity to stakeholders to hear important views.
“The regulations are a minor part of the strategy for starting a business.” According to him, investments are a means of development, and it is one of the means through which a government can develop a country.
He added: “The purpose of the regulations is not to change, amend or supercede the Act but to make things easier for every investor,” and that investment is part of a larger strategy for the development of the country.
He revealed that a proposal is coming up to establish GIEPA incentives committee, which shall monitor compliance by the beneficiaries of the special investment certificates, among others.
The committee, he said, will comprise representatives of GRA, GIEPA and the Trade and Finance ministries.
He announced that the special investment certificate is not only for foreign investors, but for the local investors in the country as well.
In her remarks, Ms Beatrice Prom, a representative of GCCI, called on the GIEPA incentives committee to be devoted.
She urged the public, particularly Gambians, to support manufacturers so as to maintain them in the country.
Ms Prom went on to announce that this year’s GCCI trade promotion will promote Gambian-made products.
“We will use it to add value to your manufactured goods sent to international markets,” she said.
Concerns and questions were raised by various representatives’ of stakeholders attending the forum on issues such as access to land to foster investments, among others.
Meanwhile, the officials were of the view that the GIEPA regulations were, among others, meant to attract investment, to simplify and streamline procedures, diminish discretion and introduce best international practices of investment.