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Urgent action is needed

Dec 13, 2010, 12:31 PM

As the world reels from the global financial crisis, there is need for experts and non-experts alike to be alert to 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 review the true state of our national economy, and take steps to revitalise the economy.

Indeed, going by the look of things, one would, no doubt, conclude that the economy is biting harder and harder, with many businesses folding up, as could be gleaned from reports and public notices or announcements carried in our newspapers on a daily basis.

We think that the Gambian authorities should consider doing something to make business investment more attractive.

In this regard, we suggest that government reduces personal and corporate income tax. It should also reduce customs duties, so as to encourage investors to bring their money and material into the country.

If this is done, the Gambian economy will be made competitive.

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), whenever introduced, should be such as 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 business people have to grapple with high and multiple taxes.

In any case, reports received indicate that business in general is presently dull, and business people 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.

Yet, despite the global financial crisis, we must plan ways and means that will help us cope with the situation.

We need to develop plans and strategies to address this problem. At the top of these strategies should be to stop the profligacy and, like the rest of the world, start implementing austerity measures.

The sooner we act, the better for the nation and the people.