|Almami Fanding Taal, CEO GCCI has been presiding over a cash-starved body: PHOTO/ Gamwriters|
Gambia’s apex body of private sector operators, Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, GCCI, is cash-starved, according it its annual activity and financial reports 2006-2012.
The financial shortfall has forced the GCCI to forgo some of its plans such as the GCCI membership training programme, which has not been conducted for quite a while.
It is understood that the Chamber’s financial bottlenecks is as a result of members and partners withholding financial support to GCCI, meaning the Chambers could not fulfil its mission towards members and hire more professional staff for the effective running of its secretariat.
“In adequate financial resources has been a major setback for GCCI in terms of addressing the growing demands of the private sector,” the GCCI said in the report presented during its annual general meeting on October 5 at the Kairaba beach hotel in the small town of Kololi.
Due to a lack of adequate financial support the Chamber finds it difficult to access information on the abundant ideas of projects or businesses with the basic knowledge and vision to start or carry out their activities, for onward submission to international donors.
The Chamber also finds it difficult to retain current membership or recruit new members which are blamed on the lack of effective implementation of its missions towards members businesses.
According to the reports, membership increased between 2009 and 2010 but remained stagnant between 2010 and 2011 and eventually decreased from 2011 to 2012.
The GCCI also blames members for its financial dilemma, who it said have not been regularly paying their annual subscription.
“One of the vehicles is already grounded,” the reports said, conspicuously referring to one of two vehicles procured by the GCCI in 2005, which have outlived their usefulness and road worthiness after almost a decade.
The financially-starved umbrella body of private sector businesses said it is working on a series of issues to takeout the GCCI from this “hell-of-a-financial shortfall.”
“The Secretariat has been exploring innovative ways of mobilising more financial resources for operations such as organising Trade Fair Gambia on an annual basis instead of once every two years, publishing the business directory, renting out seminar and meeting rooms,” the reports suggest.
The Chambers also revealed it has sent out project proposals to local and international strategic partners to engage them to support long-term programmes for the benefit of the business community.
The new direction of the Secretariat is to implement activities that would benefit members and to continuously engage them in dialogue. The benefits and services to the membership are under continuous review to reflect their changing and varied needs, while potential members are continuously sensitized.
The GGCCI’s mandate includes the provision of essential business services to the country’s private sector. It is also tasked with the responsibility of giving business advice and as well as influencing government in creating an enabling business environment.
Written by Modou S. Joof