By Lamin Sanyang
Alieu Secka, Chief Executive Officer CEO of The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry GCCI has called on the new government of President Adama Barrow to support the indigenous business owners in the country.
Talking to The Fatu Network at his office in Bijilo, CEO Secka tasked the new government to learn lessons from the first republic to set up a mechanism to support indigenous businesses many of which are mainly micros and small enterprises.
“The Gambia Commercial and Development Bank was set up during the first republic particularly to support the businesses,” Alieu Secka disclosed.
Secka said many lessons were learned from that experience by creating the necessary support for several local businesses to compete in the business sector. He expressed his hope in the new government to learn lessons from the past. He further called on the government to engage the foreign investors to partner with local businesses, saying it would be a winning situation to both parties.
“One of the challenges faced by the indigenous businesses is the lack of access to finances to expand their businesses,” he asserted.
He explained how they have been engaging the government in the past and present to actively look into this matter to provide affordable finances to expand their businesses, saying foreign businesses are welcome but they also want to see the local businesses improve.
Chief Executive Officer Secka said working with the former government of President Jammeh was very difficult but they tried to forge constructive relation in the public.
“The last government was particularly difficult in the sense that they were not totally predictable in some areas,” he asserted.
Secka expressed hope in the new government to create the enabling environment and level playing field for the public and private sector which he said will encourage foreign investors who are more than willing to invest in the country. He said already some investors have started making inquiries. He expressed optimism in the business investments in the country.
Talking about the achievements made, he made mention of training packages, issuing certificates of origin and administered the inter state route which is sub-regional protocol among others. He said many countries within the subregion come to collect their goods at the country’s sea port on duty free. He also hailed the annual trade fair which was attended by almost all the countries in the subregion.
“The Gambia has a free enterprise economy in that case we welcome everybody provided the playing field is level.
Meanwhile, he encouraged free enterprise economy, calling on the government to regularize the energy sector to boost the country’s agricultural produce particularly fruits and vegetables as industries and factories cannot develop without energy.