May 30, 2012, 2:50 PM
The government has taken a decision to dissolve the Indigenous Business Advisory Services (IBAS) and transferred its functions to the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), the minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment told deputies at the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Kebba Touray, who was speaking during question-and-answer session, said the move is part of government’s policy of rationalizing and harmonizing institutions for greater impact.
Established in 1975 as a government institution, IBAS among others sought to enhance prospects for job creation, self-employment as well as to contribute to ongoing national efforts in reducing poverty.
“This is in pursuance of Government’s new focus on the development of programmes to support and promote the development of the Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprises (MSMEs) as they are increasingly becoming drivers of employment for many Gambians including youths and women,” Touray told deputies.
For this reason, he added, government extended the mandate of GIEPA through the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Act of 2010, to provide support for development of MSMEs wherever they are throughout the country.
According to Mr Touray, GIEPA is therefore statutorily responsible for the provision of services to the MSMEs including supporting them to get access to finance as well as the provision of business development to sustain their growth and development.
He told parliament that his ministry started implementing the government’s decision to close IBAS through an assessment of all IBAS assets and liabilities conducted in November 2011 to enable the development of appropriate measures for the effective execution of enterprise development services by GIEPA.
“GIEPA has been engaged for suitable qualified members of staff of IBAS, which now performs the core IBAS functions. This process has started and the selected staff are progressively being interviewed for recruitment,” he added.
Touray also told parliamentarians that his ministry has been working closely with the Personnel Management Office, Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders since 2011 to ensure that suitable personnel of IBAS whose profiles may not be required in GIEPA are redeployed within the Civil Service.
“Until this is brought to its logistical conclusion, arrangement is in place to make sure all staff are paid their full salary during this situation,” he stated.