By: Landing Ceesay
President Adama Barrow has urged the Gambian private sector to actively participate in the Gambia Chamber of Commerce (GCCI) activities.
“In light of the important role of the Chamber in national affairs, I take this opportunity to call upon the Gambian private sector to participate more actively in the activities of the GCCI. The Chamber is an institution for the entire local business community, and it represents the sector responsibly. Recognizing that the private sector acts as an engine of growth, the work of the GCCI affects every one of us in The Gambia. A flourishing private sector indicates a healthy economy. From this point of view, we invite all private sector actors to take up the challenge and responsibility of ensuring a thriving private sector, in order to make The Gambia a progressive country for all,” President Barrow stated.
President Barrow believes that with regard to Sustainable Development Goal Nine (9), an effective Public-Private Sector Partnership leads to sustainable and inclusive growth through employment creation, revenue generation and enhancement of livelihoods. He said his Government fully supports the private sector to provide essential business services and goods for the common good; adding that the private sector should work closely with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in the interest of both partners.
“The National Business Council, presided over by the Vice President, regularly brings together key Government Ministers and GCCI officials to discuss matters of business reform in the country. It is to cement this relationship further that the Chamber participates in relevant official missions. My government also supports strongly the development of the GCCI’s Trade Fair site at Brusubi. Consequently, the Council and partners are pursuing the establishment of an appropriate venue, where we can host more fairs and support our local entrepreneurs. All these quite amply demonstrate [the] Government’s commitment to building partnerships,” said Barrow.
The Gambian President said he understands and appreciates that, in line with their call for investment in agriculture, a strong emphasis on agri-businesses is gradually emerging. He said it is laudable, as it is estimated to cut down about Fifty Million US Dollars [approximately D2.5 billion] on rice importation; saying so that, “we eat what we grow.” He further stated that it is a means of creating employment for the youths, and for other women and men who are interested in improving their welfare.
“With many female entrepreneurs and young persons, linked to Small and Medium Enterprises, forming a large part of the exhibitors, we hope that the three weeks ahead will bring the public together to discover what our local entrepreneurs and companies, as well as the regional entrepreneurs and international companies, have to offer. I encourage both parties to make the most of the opportunities available for networking, match-making and discovery, among others,” he stated.
President Barrow said it is refreshing to recall that, like all patriotic and concerned citizens, the GCCI complemented Government efforts with the businesses against Covid-19 initiative. The Twenty Million Dalasi (D20 Million) raised by the Chamber, in partnership with the UNDP was quite substantial, he said.
“We have taken note of the way the money was wisely disbursed, and we applaud the Chamber for the keen sense of responsibility that prompted the initiative. The tremendous support rendered to the Prisons Service, the complete rehabilitation of the first treatment centre at the Sanatorium, the supplies and equipment donated to the health sector, the support to the local councils for their communities and the sensitization activities executed were all suitably targeted. Impressively too, the GCCI made its Trade Fair site and equipment available for COVID-19 testing and vaccination. This is superb.
“As a responsible government, we decided to support the people in various ways to the tune of Eight Hundred and Fifty Million Dalasi (D850 Million). An additional Two Hundred and Twenty-Four Dalasi (D224 Million), together with contributions from our partners, had to be spent for similar reasons,” President Barrow said.
Barrow said the above earlier on Wednesday at the official launch of the 15th GCCI Trade Fair underway at the Independence Stadium in Bakau. The event is scheduled to last for 3 weeks.