MoTC disburses D100m as covid-19 recovery & resilience support

Oct 2, 2020, 12:16 PM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu

To improve resilience, confidence building and support for reopening of the tourism session in destination Gambia, the Ministry Tourism and Culture led by Minister Hamat N.K. Bah Wednesday disbursed the sum of D100 million (one hundred million dalasis) as covid-19 support for resilience and recovery to the tourism, culture and hospitality institutions under its purview.

The disbursement is part of the recovery work plan and budget for the licenced institutions, stakeholders and tourism establishment in the sector across the country.

According to the breakdown announced by the Minister Hamat N.K. Bah, the beneficiaries include tourists taxi drivers (413), fruit sellers (145), Juice pressers (81), hairdressers (76), Senegambia market vendors (96), Kotu market vendors (90), Cape Point craft market vendors (78), Palma Rima craft market vendors (34), Fajara craft market vendors (74), Bakau craft market vendors (50), Banjul craft market vendors (40), Brikama craft market vendors (55), tourist guides/bird watchers (158), miscellaneous business (120), hotels over 100 rooms (15), hotels (50 to 100) rooms (13), hotels less than 50 rooms (23), guest houses/motels (118), upcountry lodges/camps (68), ground operators Class A (6), ground operators Class B (15),  equipment hirers/car rentals (25), tourist boats/vessels/pirogues (125), bars, restaurants and clubs (108), beach bars (55).

According to him, the list includes travel agencies (15), casinos and gaming houses (16), Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute, Institute of Travel and Tourism of the Gambia, Fajara Skill Development Centre, Takulegaye Skills Training Centre, YMCA, Vicky’s Hairdressing Saloon, National Centre for Arts and Culture, artistic groups (59), artistic individuals (45) Writers’ Association of the Gambia, Music Union Association, Film Producers Association, Theatre Association, Book Publishers Association and Fashion Designers Association.

Minister Bah made it clear before the stakeholders that the covid-19 support for resilience and recovery package is made possible by the government and meant for businesses registered and licenced institutions, stakeholders and tourism establishment in the sector.

The minister expounded in his remarks that during the period of assessment and collation of the names of the registered businesses in the industry the ministry and the institutions tasked for the assignment to “make sure that there is no registered businesses in the sector left behind” in this covid-19 recovery support.

He added that the assessment was done in detail as it was not limited to the Greater Banjul Area but “across the country – from here (GBA) to Basse.”

As it is important to support them for recovery as the country is in hard situation, he said they took some measures that would lessen their burdens.

He also highlighted on the measures in brief which include but not limited to secured D100 million to be distributed among all the players, the MoTC having an agreement with banks with the help of “Ministry of Finance through the Central Bank of The Gambia to stop deducting interest and loan repayment for those who owe the bank that are in the industry.”

He said the same was done with all the municipalities as regards to the hotels, and “for operational licence, government also paid that money for the hotels; some have paid but next year those who already paid will not pay.”

He therefore advised that “the money is not meant for rent arrears because covid-19 still stays but the money is to help you start your businesses again.”

While expressing trust in all institutions under his ministry, he also warned and advised them to do justice with the money as expected without fight or partiality so that everyone could get what belongs to them.