By Ramatoulie Jawo
President Adama Barrow hosted the National Business Council Meeting at the State House in Banjul on Saturday, bringing together business leaders, cabinet ministers, stakeholders, and government officials to address challenges faced by the business community and highlight government efforts to resolve them.
In his opening statement, President Barrow acknowledged the Private Sector’s role in the Council’s development and affirmed his government’s commitment to collaboration.
“This meeting provides an opportunity for me to express appreciation for the tremendous work that the Council has been undertaking to promote suitable policies and strategies on national economic development. In this regard, I particularly acknowledge the useful role played by the private sector in the Council’s work and progress,” he said.
He added that the nation owes the private sector gratitude for its contributions to nation-building through investment, job creation, and tax payments.
“I reassure you all that the Government will do everything within its powers to ensure that the necessary conditions are created for the sector to grow and thrive,” he said
President Barrow emphasized the unique opportunity the Business Council offers to discuss challenges and identify solutions and opportunities in the economy to promote private-sector participation.
Mr. Edrissa Mass Jobe, President of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce (GCCI), highlighted the purpose of the meeting and the private sector’s contribution to the National Development Plan (NDP).
“The purpose of the meetings today was to present to the state the constraints we have in terms of doing business in the country. We were very pleased that the government has taken note even some of the issues that we have raised they already have it on their agenda. They have taken note and they have promised us that before the next meeting of the National Business Council, we will see action taken along these areas,” he said.
Mr. Jobe further discussed significant issues, including constructive regulations to help businesses succeed in the Gambia.
“A lot of the people that go into business might not have the know-how and the financial material resources, but they need somebody to carry them across the finish line we have discussed that issue of regulations. I think that we will see more constructive regulations whereby the government is going to help institutions to meet the requirements of the state,” he said.
Hon. Baboucarr Joof, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration, and Employment, outlined the government’s plans to improve the business environment, thanking President Barrow for his commitment to dialogue with the private sector.
“It is important that we talk together to find solutions to the reform agenda that you yourself have been promoting and come up with issues and solutions that will change the way things are happening in the interest of our citizenry,” he said
The meeting marked the first National Business Council Meeting in 2024 and the 8th edition since its establishment in the Gambia.