It is now official. The Tajudeen Business Empire in the Gambia is finally winding up for an eventual close-down after Gambia’s dictator Yahya Jammeh unceremoniously expelled the business tycoon from the Gambia accusing him of selling expired chicken legs to the unsuspecting populace. According to sources, Tajudeen’s businesses including the famous Kairaba Shopping Centre are now put up for sale by a local bank.
Tajudeen whose Business Empire is named after himself has since been residing in the neighbouring Senegal. The choice of Senegal could not be a better business option for Tajudeen because since his unceremonious expulsion from the Gambia, Tajudeen has established outlets in Guinea Bissau while he uses Dakar, a strategically located city for commerce in the subregion as his operational base.
The move to finally windup all business operations in the Gambia has been greeted with panic and fear not only among his employees and ordinary people but also among government circles as well. Tajudeen is the biggest tax payer in The Gambia and at the peak of his business activity, he was paying nothing less than D50 million dalasi as tax every month. As the biggest importer of chicken and other food items in The Gambia, he used to import up to 300 containers monthly providing the much needed income to clearing agents, truck drivers and labourers a the Ports Authority.
In a country where unconfirmed unemployment figures show that up to 65 of young people are not in gainful employment, news of Tajudeen closing down operations in the Gambia has sent shockwaves among his employees numbering up to 700. A large number of local business in the informal sector that serve as agents selling his chicken legs around the country are also worried about huge business loses.
In addition, some senior officials at the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), the government agency responsible for tax collection, told Fatu Radio that with the closure of Tajudeen’s businesses in the country, it would be difficult now for the GRA to meet monthly tax collection targets.
One GRA official told Fatu Radio “with his monthly tax at D50 million, Tajudeen’s annual tax contribution to the state used to be between 600 – 700 million Dalasis. This is almost a quarter of our entire annual budget.”
Fatu Radio has confirmed that Gambia’s President, dictator Jammeh has made repeated personal pleas for Tajudeen to come back but the business tycoon has refused siting the erratic behaviour of Jammeh and his unpredictability in dealing with not only his perceived enemies but even his friends and business people as well.
There are some concerns however that the erratic Gambian leader whose ego is now permanently bruised by Tajudeen’s refusal to come back to the Gambia, could use his personal ties with the President of Guinea Bissau to create problems for the business tycoon.
For now though ordinary people employed by of Tajudeen and indeed the government itself are paying a heavy price in terms of loss in gainful employment and much needed tax revenue because of President Jammeh’s erratic behaviour and greed.