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We are not rivals - Jammeh tells private sector

Mar 8, 2010, 11:35 AM | Article By: Baboucarr Senghore

President Yahya Jammeh has stressed the need for unity among private sector operators, while emphasizing that there exists no rivalry between the government and the private sector.

President Jammeh in his capacity as Chief Patron of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) attended and presided over the GCCI 2009 Annual Dinner and Awards Night held at the Senegambia Beach Hotel on Friday.

"We are not rivals, but partners in development," he said, adding "we may have differences, but coming together is paramount for the socio-economic development of the country."

The event, which aims to promote and nurture business excellence, and motivate business entities to do more for the economic growth and social development of the country, saw the awarding of 11 personalities and businesses for their contribution to the country’s development.

According to President Jammeh, on any journey, be it of any type, there is bound to be turbulence, but the common destination would be to achieve good results.

"My government will create the enabling environment, and you make best use of it. You have to come together, because we will only work with an umbrella body and not individual entities. Work with a body that will represent all of you," he advised members of the private sector.

President Jammeh used the occasion to assure the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry of his government's full support at all times, while advising the private sector operators to come together for the development of the sector.

"You have heard companies around the world coming together because of the global economic crisis.  But for Gambia, you only come together because of such gatherings.

"You have to come together, form alliances so that you can have success. You need to work together to be able to process and export. You have the golden opportunity, so make best use of it," Jammeh declared.

For the President, business cannot continue to be done as usual. "We have to manufacture and be able to export. Success is measured by being able to overcome difficulties," he said.

Also speaking at the awards ceremony, Bai Matarr Drammeh, President of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, described their collaboration with government as "very fruitful."

"We have a very close working relationship with the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Finance and the New Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs under Yusupha Kah," he said.

According to Mr. Drammeh, the establishment of the Ministry of the Economy, National Planning and Industry, apart from the Ministry of Trade, is a demonstration of the Government’s new strategy to address the country's economic development, and the emerging needs of the private sector.

He added that there is a change in world business due to the current world economics crisis. This change, he noted, is being shaped by the tides of prevailing market conditions of the world, and will affect every business, especially businesses in smaller economies.

"However, the emerging giants of Asia and South America have position themselves and are promoting South-South cooperation in business. And, if Gambian businesses are to survive we will have to embrace diversity and tolerate foreign investment," GCCI president Drammeh stated.

He expressed the need to cement ties with research institutions and other professional bodies, for product development and quality control. These institutions, he went on, "have a vital role to play in the enhancement of our business products, especially when we have to venture into the exporting of our products."

"More importantly, there is a need to forge links within the private sector, and amongst business operators. There is a lot of misconception on the role of the private sector, and the role of the GCCI," he added.

As part of the awards night, the following companies and businesspeople were given awards:

Banjul Breweries Limited as the Manufacturer of the Year 2009, Unique Solutions as SME of the Year 2009, Gambia Ports Authority as Public Enterprise of the Year 2009, Kanilai Family Farms as the Agriculturalist of the Year 2009.

Other award recipients were Africell as the Telecommunication Company of the Year 2009, Trust Bank as Bank of the Year 2009, Saul Frazer as Entrepreneur of the Year 2009, Ndey Awa Khan-Ceesay as Businesswoman of the Year 2009, and Muhammed Jah as Businessman of the Year 2009.

Fatou Sinyan Mbergan financial controller at Banjul Breweries received the GCCI President's Award, the first of its kind.