Gambia to harness diplomacy to resolve transit trade barriers   

Mar 19, 2021, 12:01 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Gambia’s Finance Minister Mamburry Njie and the Commissioner General of The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), Yankuba Darboe, have reassured the Malian delegation in the country of firm commitment to use diplomacy to resolve the obstacle on transit trade barriers via Senegal to Mali.

At a meeting with the Malian delegation on Wednesday, Gambian authorities described as a very sad situation that the sub region is still encountering blockage at the borders.

“I think in the spirit of the ECOWAS protocols, this blockage should have been history now,” Finance Minister Njie told the delegation.

“No country will gain anything from the blockage in this century,” adding that is due to interpersonal relationship, family relations and even trade.

“I think any attempt to block such transit; I think is unfortunate but we will still use diplomatic channel to be able to resolve these transit trade barriers.

I am confident that eventually we will overcome the obstacle, but it takes two of us to our commitment, dedication and insistence to ensure that we continue to use the road. “We believe that certain interest groups are causing this obstacle and that’s why a unilateral action will not help to solve the problem.”

“We will still use diplomacy to resolve the matters.”

However, the Finance minister urged the two countries to continue to deepen their business partnership in The Gambia. 

“The Gambia government will do everything possible to provide you the conducive environment and to persuade other countries that the trade relationship we want to build in the interest of ECOWAS such blockage is a major bottleneck and it will not help trade relationship with the three countries.”

Finance Minister Njie called on the Malians to exercise patience, saying that with tolerance, surely the problem will be the thing of the past among the three countries.

He reiterated that these blockages are caused by certain interest groups, while assuring that the matters will be resolved to ensure smooth trade movement.

The minister also pointed out that: “The Gambia is aware of the additional cost tariff but will address it to ensure convenience for you to do business in The Gambia.”

For his part, the Commissioner General of GRA Yankuba Darboe, expressed dissatisfaction with the trade barriers at the borders, saying no country has rights to grant another authorisation to do business. This is unbelievable and unacceptable due to the fact that The Gambia has signed all the ECOWAS protocols. Therefore Gambia does not want anybody to give “us quarter on transit trade.”

The Commissioner General also reminded that Senegal has signed the ECOWAS protocols but woefully failed to respect it.

He recalled that two months ago, a loaded truck with fuel from Gam-petroleum heading to Mali was blocked by the Senegalese security for three weeks at the border, something he described as unsafe.

According to him, similar incident happened when another 21 trucks were delayed at the depot due to unnecessary tariff barriers.

The GRA CG noted that The Gambia has the rights do business with any country of its choice since both agreed to do so. Darboe called on the Senegalese authority to respect the ECOWAS Protocols as well the two MOU that GRA signed with Senegalese Authority.