Oct 4, 2013, 9:57 AM
(Monday 21 October 2019 Issue)
Mr President, your recent surprise visit to The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) is a welcome move and we will encourage you to make more surprise visits to other government institutions, too.
This will allow you to get first-hand information and understand their constraints, problems and needs and to chart the way forward for their work to be easy.
Mr. President, GPA which plays a key role in the country’s economy should be assisted by every means possible to meet their challenges as they are in tough competition with other ports, most especially Dakar ports.
As you rightly said, it is good for government to open partnership to be able to compete with neighboring countries, and one way of doing this will be to address the congestion at the port since Gambia is a strategic point for business.
Re-exportation of goods to other parts of the sub-region should be encouraged and made easy the shipping of goods for domestic trade.
Mr. President, business institutions and individuals who are ordering goods have been complaining to this medium that vessels coming to The Gambia spend several days in and around the ports before their goods are off loaded.
Some businessmen now prefer to off load their goods in Dakar than Gambia because of the quicker service in the Dakar port. GPA authorities and your government should work on a strategic plan to decongest by expanding the ports and buying new equipment to help ease their work and make it quicker.
Banks can also be invited to step in to finance their projects as loans and to be repaid in terms and conditions agreed.
Mr. President, after touring the GPA, you will agree with me that new and good ferries are needed and your government should engage Japan, Turkey and China in their bilateral cooperation to help solve this major problem of crossing for the country.
Mr President, business in general is dull in the country. One main reason of this is because of the frequent depreciation of the Dalasi to other foreign curriencies. Government should also adopt a fair level playing field for all businessmen and make sure that all of them pay taxes to GRA, to enable it to realise its monthly target.
No businessman should be given preferential treatment. All should be equal if we want the country move forward.
Finally, Mr President, it is very urgent that you meet the importers, top businessmen and Executive of Gambia Chamber of Commerce to know their challenges since re-exportation trade is playing a vital role in the economy. Gambia should retake its rightful position of being the sub region’s supermarket.