There has been a change in hands at GambiaChamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), the apex body of all private businesses in the country.
On October 5, delegates put an end to the terms of the serving president of the GCCI and its board members by electing a new president and a new board of directors who are tasked with the responsibility of steering the affairs of the body for the next two years.
Former president Bai Matarr Drammeh and his board members are accused of overstaying after their term runs out over six years.
No AGM’s had been held during this period, and The Voice newspaper understands certain members were unhappy with what they called a “total violation of GCCI Constitution.”
“Let me begin by apologizing to the entire membership for the delay in conducting the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for a couple of years,” said outgoing GCCI President Mr. Bai Matarr Drammeh, CEO of Gambia National Insurance Company, GNIC.
He admitted there has been a rebranding of the GCCI to correct the “unfortunate” situation his team found themselves in. He also called on all members to further commit themselves to the affairs of the GCCI “to enable us to harness our resources in order to yield fruitful results.”
Perhaps, the most notable achievements of Mr. Drammeh and his cohorts in six years are the establishment of the “Kerr Jula”, the permanent home of the GCCI in 2012 and being able to register as members most of the businesses dealing in essential commodities, and its annual trade fair , and business awards.
The later have been criticized in some quarters as being “unfair” as some of the sponsors and certain companies continue to win year-on-year.
Muhammed Jagana, an ex-board member was elected the new president of GCCI during its annual general meeting held at the Kairaba beach hotel in Kololi.
Mr. Jagana, a business-oriented Gambian, is the chief executive officer (CEO) of J-Fin, a financial establishment engaged in Money Transfer activities. He won 208 votes, leading by a margin of 52 votes as his challenger Mrs. Fatou Sinyan Mergan, a top official of the brewery company, Julbrew and an ex- treasurer of the GCCI board secured 156 votes.
Meanwhile, Mr. Papa Yusufa Njie, CEO of Unique Solution, an internet service provider, Mr. Papa Liegh, a cooperate affairs of the GSM company, Africell and Fatou Ndong of the oil company, Total, were elected as 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents and Treasurer unopposed.
In an acceptance speech, the new president expresses delight on the confidence put on by the delegates. “I will work hard to meet the hopes and desires of the members in pushing the Chambers to a higher level and try to address all the constraints we inherited from outgoing board,” he said.
Mr. Jagana promises to work with all members to promoting unity and dialogue among the businesspeople, create room to accommodate new members and increase the revenue-base of the chambers, their main source of income.
“We will work hard to meet all bilateral organizations, institution such as government, the United Nations agencies, Non Governmental Organisations, and Civil Society who have a role to play in promoting a healthy and smooth private sector in the country,” he said.
He also promises to continue discussions with the Gambia Government to reduced taxes for the private sector and also the cost of electricity and as well the protection of private businesses, which is the pillar of all business operators in this country.
He also stress the need to mobilize more resources increase the capacity of staff and members in short and long terms. “We will create new projects and programmes for members on training and empowerment of small scale enterprises (SMEs) to increase their revenue-base and create more employment opportunities for the youth in this country,” he said.
Mr. Jagana, whose term expires in two years, hailed the outgoing president and his team for a “job well-done” by putting the Chambers on a sound footing and enabling members benefit from contributions to the chambers.
He also gives assurances of their readiness to work closely with the former board, hoping to learn from their successes and challenges.
Source: The Voice