Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gambia’s Export to the EU Drops But…

“The Country Still Strive In The European Market”

VOL:1 ISSN:37 The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, has revealed that the value of Gambia’s exports to the European Union (EU) has dropped substantially but the EU remains The Gambia’s main trading partner accounting for 42 per cent of total imports and 39 per cent of the total exports in 2008.
Hon. Abdou Kolley made this revelation in his 2010 Budget presentation to the nation recently. He noted that the main exports in 2008 were fish and fish preparations (23 per cent), cashew nuts (16 per cent) and groundnuts (10 per cent). The Gambia’s total external trade amounted to D7.4 billion in 2008 down from D8.2 billion in 2007.

“This is due to a decline in imports from D7.9 billion in 2007 to D7.1 billion in 2008 and exports from D332.8 million in 2007 to D300.6 million in 2008 as a result of developments in the global markets,” he said.
On trade facilitation, he said the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment is currently working with the West African Monetary Institute on formulating a National Trade Policy, while collaborating with the World Trade Organisation on a second Trade Policy Review in July 2010.
According to him, the ongoing negotiations of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between ECOWAS and the European Union could not be concluded by June 30, 2009 as scheduled. This is because the two regions could not finalise negotiations on a number of substantive development issues including the EPA Development Programme, Sensitive Products and Rules of Origin.
Similarly, he noted that negotiations within ECOWAS on a Common External Tariff could not be concluded by July 31, 2009 due to the inclusion in December 2008 of a 5th band 35 per cent rate, leading to fresh negotiations in February 2009.
In order to promote small and large enterprises, he pointed out that the Government of The Gambia enacted a competition law in 2007 and established The Gambia Competition Commission in October 2008. “The Competition Commission will work closely with other regulators including the Central Bank of The Gambia and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, in order to protect consumers and ensure an orderly market development.
Industrial Development Issues
On industrial development issues, he told the nation that the Ministry of Trade has almost finalized the review of the Investment Promotion and Free Zone Acts with a view to updating them to reflect the changing realities of the investment environment.
“The two Acts have now been incorporated into one single Act, while work is progressing on incorporating export and enterprise development components into the main Act, following the formulation of a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSNE) Policy. A new institutional structure is therefore being developed for the implementation of this new set up,” he said.
He also noted that the ministry is working with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on what he called a Country Cooperation Program in areas relating to agro-based industries, industrial competitiveness, investment, renewable energy, trade capacity building and enterprise upgrading.
“The process has begun to review and update the Standard of Weights and Measures Act of 1977, which is now obsolete. A work programme with the purpose of establishing a National Standard Bureau in 2011 has also been finalized.”
The Trade Gateway Project, which was supporting the operations of Gambia Promotion and Free Zone Agency, is ending on 31st December 2009 after being extended for two years from 2007. During the life of this project, GIPFZA was able to help set up 59 companies in various sectors of the economy with total investment level of over US$215 million and creating over 4600 direct jobs.
He further noted that to build on the successes of the Gateway Project, Government initiated consultations with the International Development Association and African Development Bank to jointly fund a growth and competitiveness project.
On employment issues, GAMJOBS has recently engaged consultants to review and update the National Employment Policy and Action Plan.
In order to boost employment generation, “I call on The Gambian private sector to engage more in the productive sector of the economy.” He noted that the country’s potential in fisheries, manufacturing and agro processing is grossly under-utilised. “Investing in the productive sector and buying local product is the surest way of creating wealth and generating employment in an economy, and therefore fighting poverty,” he stated.

1 comment:

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