#Article (Archive)

Making the Economy Work

Sep 30, 2008, 8:11 AM

As the world reels from the global financial crisis, there is need for experts and non-experts alike to review what is happening. No matter what happens, we can never insulate ourselves from the crisis that is now rocking the world. At the local level, we insist that there is need to revamp and revitalise our economy. Businesspeople across the country agree that the economy is biting harder and harder. Things are so bad now that many businesses are folding up.

If Wall Street can fall back on bailout, we think that the Gambian authorities should consider doing something to make business more attractive to business. In light of this, we suggest that governmentreduce personal and corporate income tax. It should also reduce customs duties and taxes so as to encourage investors to bring their money and goods into the country. If this is done, the Gambian economy will be made competitive -vis-à-vis those of her neighbours.

The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) has to make sure that its tariffs are also reduced to stay competitive with what obtains in the sub region. Besides, the value added tax (VAT) should be reduced in order to make The Gambia the hub and gateway of the sub region.

The fact that government has already encouraged the influx of banks to operate in the country is an indication of its readiness to make the economy work for the benefit of everybody. But the banks themselves would find it difficult to operate profitably in an economy where businesspeople have to grapple with high and multiple taxes.

Business in general is dull; employment is down. Businesspeople are merely putting a bold face on it. Underneath the cheerfulness is pain and anxiety over what would happen next, or how to break even. We need other economic operators to come and play their part in the economic development of this country. That can only happen when government participates by reducing these taxes that are slowing down or maiming business. We want Banjul to regain its place as supermarket of the region so that our streets would be busy with trucks of the sub-region coming in to buy our goods.

Despite the global financial crisis, we must plan ways and means that will help us cope with the situation. We therefore suggest that government should organize a one-day forum with businesspeople, the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), the Department of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, bankers, to develop plans and strategies to address this problem. The sooner we act, the better for the nation.

"The is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people".

Adam Smith