Apr 28, 2009, 7:16 AM
The Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, Hon. Abdou Kolley, recently launched the Matching Grant Facility (MGF) of the Gambia Growth and Competitiveness Project (GGCP) at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.
In his launching speech, Minister Kolley said the GGCP is an important project for the Government of The Gambia because of its potentials to contribute towards sustaining the growth of the Gambian economy and enhancing poverty reduction efforts through private sector-led growth.
“The MGF is a sub-component of the GGCP, which seeks to confirm long-term sustainable job creation and income generation by providing enterprises in The Gambia with the necessary assistance to facilitate growth of their business in a planned, business-savvy manner,” Minister Kolley said.
Working with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Minister Kolley continued, the project would help The Gambia’s private sector to successfully partake and grow in the domestic and international market.
“This initiative is therefore in line with the Government’s strategy of improving competitiveness by adopting measures that will sustain macroeconomic growth and stability, making the business environment more competitive and strengthen the relationship between the Government and the private sector,” Minister Kolley noted.
According to the Trade minister, to reinforce the action of the initiative to improve the business of climate change, Government has committed itself to acting in three areas between 2012 and 2015. These are trade facilitation, improving the investment climate, and quality control systems.
Again, in an effort to accelerate growth and reduce poverty, the Government plans to strengthen sources of economic growth, especially growth that will benefit the poor, he said, noting that the MGF is one such facility that will promote inclusive and create economic opportunities along with ensuring equal access to resources for the Gambian entrepreneurs.
Minister Kolley also said inclusive growth will address the issue of inequality and also make poverty reduction efforts more effective by explicitly creating productive economic opportunities for the poor and vulnerable sections of the society.
He said the launching of the programme signifies that, “We enter 2012 with hopes and aspirations to become better entrepreneurs with resolutions of creating employment, better services and sustained wealth for improved livelihood of the Gambian people”.
He added: “This will no doubt be a challenging task but certainly is the way forward in realizing some of our national development priorities as articulated in the Programmes for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE).”
The second component of the GGCP, he noted, calls for strengthening economic clusters and support for tourism development.
It is against this background that the MGF was introduced with the objective of providing grant support to qualifying MSMEs and eligible private enterprise to enable them become more competitive, grow their businesses and create jobs and increase their household incomes, the trade minister said.
In parallel, he continued, the sub-component will also provide non-matching grants to invest in public goods that will strengthen the competitiveness of key economic clusters such as horticulture.
Overall, the MGF will consist of four windows with each window responding to an important component of the Gambian economy, he said, adding that the key component of the MGF is the horticulture scheme, which is strongly anchored on private sector partnership.
Minister Colley also said his ministry will provide all the necessary support to facilitate timely and efficient implementation of the MGF.
The other speakers at the launching included the project coordinator of GGCP, Tamsir Manga, and the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Saul Njie.