GPA discusses socio-economic impact of Banjul Port

Feb 8, 2024, 11:21 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), on Tuesday held a day-long consultative meeting with key actors at the port to discuss the impact of the port’s operations on the cost of doing business, the rising prices of basic commodities and the transit of containers destined for Banjul through neighbouring ports.

The convergence, held at the Ports Training Hall in Banjul, also provides a platform for stocktaking on the prevailing challenges and to proffer suggestions on how to consolidate gains registered in ongoing ports expansion and reform programmes.

Ousman Jobarteh, the managing director of GPA, expressed delight while underscoring the importance of the gathering. He said in August 2023, they promised to meet in the first quarter of this year to take stock of what they have agreed and achieved, and what needs to be done.

Jobarteh added that the convergence came at a critical time when the Ports was going through some transformation to address the major challenges that affect service delivery, especially the capacity constraints that the government is currently helping to address.

He further explained that if the facilities are not proper, they cannot be efficient, while indicating that they are trying to upgrade the entire Ports circle but are faced with capacity challenges.

“We can't expand the Ports in two to three years; but what we can do is to implement measures to promote efficiency ranging from equipment, deployment of IT facilities in our business processes and start learning and development programmes to ensure we continue to deliver to the expectations of the nation,” MD Jobarteh stated.

He underlined that the Ports is a catalyst for socio-economic development, saying its productivity has an impact on the cost of doing business.  He noted that the Port is now in serious consultation with international port operators to invite private capital to invest in the improvement of the capacity of the port.

Yankuba Darboe, the commissioner general of The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), harped on the need to take ownership of the country’s development by emphasising that the country belongs to everyone. He added that discussion is the only way that can develop the country.

“There are problems and there are bound to be problems, and no one will tell you can solve all the problems in this world. What we can do is identify problems we are facing and try to address them. It's important to have a forum like this that involves stakeholders to brainstorm and take notes of what we have achieved and how to approach what we intend to achieve.”

He highlighted that the Ports Authority is the brain of the economy and that they must make sure it is developed to become state-of-the-art ports. He further reiterated that by the end of January, for the first time in the history of the country, GRA was able to collect over 1.7 billion dalasis.

“International trade alone collected close to 900 million dalasis and 80-90% of that passed through the ports. That's why it's important to see ports working very effectively because it has a pivotal role in our work,” CG stated. 

Other speakers include Kebba Njie, GPA chairperson who emphasised the need for public-private partnership towards the achievement of the desires of the ports. He further hailed GRA for assisting the ports on its transformative agenda.