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NAMs, Stakeholders Join to Battle Global Crisis

Jan 13, 2009, 6:30 AM | Article By: Abba A.S. Gibba

The National Assembly yesterday convened a meeting with the business community and other stakeholders in The Gambia to share their experiences and perhaps carve out a way that might assist everybody in this country to come to terms with the realities of the world market.

The meeting, the first of its kind, was to discuss as a family the likely impact of the current threatening global crisis on the Gambian economy. The world's financial system is facing buffeting times and financial markets are uncertain. To find ways on how to join hands together to make contingency plans and prepare for any eventuality co-operation is essential.

In her opening remarks, Hon. Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay, the speaker of the National Assembly, said we are seeing the tsunami of the credit crunch in the United States, Europe and some part of Asia hitting the world. She said banks cannot even extend credit to each other. She added that as The Gambia globalizes and integrates more with the world markets it will be affected directly or indirectly in terms remittances from abroad, aid flows, foreign direct investment and tourism receipts.

She added that the crisis has shaken even bigger and stronger economies in the world, and right now, attentions are being focus on how to defeat these challenges. "The Gambia as a small economy cannot be left out in the process," she said.

"For this reason, we in the National Assembly and the people's representatives felt the need to engage all stakeholders to discuss these issues and strategize a way out. We have all witnessed the rising food prices in the markets, and we all know what that means for the average Gambian. Each and every one of us here present is affected directly or indirectly," she remarked.

For his part, Bai Matarr Drammeh, the president of The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hailed the initiative of organizing such a meeting, adding that they (the private sector) are glad that they are included in the proceedings of the National Assembly. He noted that inviting them to such a meeting is an indication that the National Assembly has taken the private sector very seriously.

The meeting brought together stakeholders like Bankers, Clearing Agents, The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), Importers of essential commodities, Economists, Pharmacies, the Central Bank, Horticulturists, Agriculturists and industry owners.

The Secretaries of State of Finance and Economic Affairs, and Trade and Industry, Mousa Gibril Bala Gaye and Abdou Colley respectively, were in attendance to clarify some concerns raised at the meeting.