Businesses urged to seize opportunities offered by ECOWAS market to support government efforts
By Sanna Camara
The concept of inclusive growth should be seen as a process whereby every Gambian, regardless of age, gender or economic status is contributing and benefitting from the country’s economic growth, said Minister of Trade, Industry and employment, Abdou Colley.
Making a statement at the opening of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) trade fair over the weekend, Minster Colley said the Gambia’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which serve as a major source of employment are faced with considerable challenges such as low productivity and low income thus minimizing their impact on poverty reduction.
According to Minister Colley, the theme, “inclusive growth through partnerships” is in line with government’s strategy of poverty reduction through the creation of productive economic opportunities for the poor and vulnerable sections of society.
Making port of Banjul a hub for transit goods
“Our strong collaboration and ties with the chamber of commerce and industry enabled the Gambia start the implementation of the Inter State Road Transit (ISRT) Scheme in July 2013,” noted Mr. Colley. He added that its objective is to facilitate transportation of transit goods through the Gambia to other countries in the sub region. This he explained, will make the port of Banjul a hub for transit goods.
He went on to reveal that his ministry is also championing the utilization of the ECOWAS trade Liberalisation Scheme by Gambian manufacturers in order to increase market access.
Supporting government’s development efforts
“Currently, sixteen Gambian companies have been certified to operate under the scheme but most of these companies are yet to fully utilize the scheme due to supply side constraints among other challenges,” he decried. Trade minister further expressed hope that the private sector will effectively utilize the scheme and take advantage of the huge opportunities that ECOWAS market offers to support government’s development efforts.
The reforms on business registration in the Gambia, according to vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy, are not only geared towards promoting big businesses but also facilitating the growth and development of micro, medium and small enterprises which is key to sustainable economic development and growth propelled by indigenous efforts.
MSMEs contribute about 20 per cent to Gambia’s Gross Domestic Product, and form more than 60 per cent of the urban labour force. Thus they are significant part of our economy, said Madam Njie-Saidy.