The Vice president has promised more reforms including tax cuts by Government in order to reduce investment costs on businesses and stimulate private sector growth.
Fatoumata Jallow, who presided over the opening ceremony of an international trade fair organised by Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), said the government is working on addressing energy inefficiency, one of the major challenges retarding private sector growth in Gambia.
“We will continue to adopt reform measures including tax reforms and investment in the energy sector to reduce the (investment) cost on businesses. We all know the challenges we are facing in the energy sector and we will not rest on our laurels until we can stabilize the current situation of the energy sector,” Jallow said.
Gambia has recently faced energy crisis causing disruption in business activities within the Greater Banjul Area. The indebted national energy company has since contracted a Turkish company, Karpoweship, to inject 30 megawatts of energy into the national grid as part of a deal that will last two years.
The trade fair is being attended by hundreds of businesses across The Gambia and dozens more from countries in the sub-region such as Togo, Niger, Ghana and Senegal. It is being oranised for the twelfth time.
The trade fair is meant for showcasing of businesses and a number of small scale processing outlets in Gambia have attended to advertise their products.
Gambian startups have long complained of higher taxation on small businesses and higher cost of energy and access to finance.
“We want to reposition Gambia and we are in the right direction… We are strengthening institutional structures to ensure that this engagement with private sector is effective…,” the vice president said.
The VP has also urged Gambian businesses to explore investment opportunities in countries within the regional economic bloc, Economic Communities of West African States.
She also advised Gambian businesses to take advantage of the trade agreement signed by African leaders in Rwanda, which was meant to boost intra-African trade which currently stands at 12% low.
The theme for this year’s trade fair is “economic transformation for Gambian business empowerment”, an idea that trade minister Isatou Touray said resonates with government’s development agenda.
Dr Touray said the New Gambia has presented an economic opportunity to help people “unleash their business potentials”.
“The call from the business community has reached the government to provide the enabling environment and policy certainty to restore confidence… Be rest assured that inclusive growth and economic transformation are the topmost priorities of this administration…,” Touray said.
The president of the GCCI, Muhammed Jagana, said the democratic dispensation has brought new opportunities for businesses to thrive.
This year’s trade fair welcomes participants from Turkey, Morocco and India.