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Published On: Thu, May 16th, 2024

President Barrow Takes In-Depth Tour of Industrial Sector Across Greater Banjul Area

President Adama Barrow on Tuesday embarked on a day-long visit of businesses in the industrial sector within the kombo and the greater Banjul area. It marked his first visit to these sectors since assuming office, underscoring the pivotal role of industrialization in the government’s National Development Plan.

During the visit, he interacted with industry leaders to grasp their challenges and seek avenues for collaboration with the government.

He added that this visit underscores the government’s recognition of the industries as valuable partners, as they contribute to job creation, economic growth, and tax revenue. The government’s commitment to industrialization and collaboration with the industries sets a positive direction for the country’s future” President Barrow said. 

In the same event, the President emphasized the importance of shifting from being solely a consumer reliant on imports to becoming a producer, he said he has been advocating for this since 2017, recognizing that relying on imports can make a country a liability, to truly compete he said the government is actively visiting production sites and receiving regular briefings from the Ministry of Trade by personally witnessing the operations and engaging directly with the business community, the President believes it creates a healthier, more direct, and honest environment. This firsthand experience he said also enables him to make more informed decisions and effectively build capacity.

President Barrow highlighted the significance of the iron industry during his recent statement. He emphasized that the industry sources all its raw materials locally in The Gambia and produces iron in various sizes based on customer preferences. “This local production process is advantageous as it reduces the need for foreign currency expenditure. By conducting business in Gambian dalasi, the industry helps to conserve foreign currency, which is beneficial for our economy. The iron industry’s commitment to utilizing local resources and supporting the national currency contributes to the overall economic stability of our country”

President Barrow’s second visit was at the poultry farm of a young Gambian entrepreneur. This remarkable individual he said is producing nearly 100,000 eggs per day, showcasing the immense potential of our local agricultural sector. “What’s even more impressive is that the entire production chain is automated, from the hatchery to partnering with aspiring young farmers to support and benefit from their efforts. While the poultry farm faces challenges, such as marketing and higher prices compared to imports, it is crucial to engage in discussions to address these issues. With their capacity to produce enough eggs for the country, exploring solutions can ensure the growth and sustainability of our local poultry”

President Barrow conveyed that it is crucial to have a constructive dialogue with the relevant stakeholders (poultry farmers) by working together and analyzing the numbers to be able to determine the percentage by which prices can be reduced. Additionally, he suggests implementing a policy that encourages the sale of locally produced goods within the country, reducing the need for imports, this approach he said aims to boost domestic production, minimize imports and strengthen the economy.

President Adama Barrow’s recent visit to the women’s market provided him with valuable insights and knowledge. He acknowledged that the market has been surrounded by controversy in the past. However, by personally visiting the market, he was able to learn a great deal and educate himself about the challenges faced by the vendors. As a result, the President expressed his intention to engage in discussions with the Finance Minister and other relevant stakeholders. He recognized the need for government support to ensure the smooth operation of the market, as the vendors require assistance in various areas where they currently lack capacity. President Barrow emphasized the government’s commitment to further support the market and its vendors.

He further emphasized the importance of addressing the challenges faced by Kanifing in exporting their products to other countries. Recognizing the potential for trade under the ECOWAS policies of free movement of goods and services, he highlighted that there are 33 qualified products for export. However, currently, only one product is being exported, indicating a significant challenge that needs to be discussed and resolved. The President emphasized the need for regional cooperation and integration, as true integration cannot occur if there is limited trade among neighboring countries.

President Barrow also highlighted an interesting encounter during the visit, where he met Malick Mendy, a talented tailor producing ready-made garments of European standard. Not only is Mr. Mendy contributing to the local economy by training and employing young people, but he is also paying taxes. However, President Barrow said that Mr. Mendy expressed his desire to be exempted from paying the education levy without fully understanding its purpose. President Barrow took the opportunity to explain to him that the education levy exists because the education system plays a vital role in producing a skilled workforce for all industries in the country.

President Barrow emphasized the significance of flour production for national security. He highlighted that the country’s flour industry is currently operating at 50% capacity, which is sufficient to meet the needs of the nation, adding that the level of production ensures that the country is secure and safe in terms of its flour supply. The President further mentioned that the industry’s partnership with other entities is based on fair trading practices in the market. As representatives of the Gambian people, fairness in pricing is a priority.

President Barrow concluded his remarks by expressing his delight with the partnership, emphasizing its adherence to principles that prioritize the protection of Gambian citizens, job creation, and economic growth. He emphasized the significance of his presence as the head of state, showing support and ensuring future collaboration for the mutual benefit of all parties involved. The President expressed his eagerness to continue working closely with the partners to explore further opportunities and maximize the benefits for everyone.

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