Saturday, 24 October 2020

The Economy

Our economic policy is based on free market principles. The objective is to deliver accelerated economic growth through private sector growth initiatives and development, and efficient management of public finance, state resources and assets.

We shall deliver a sound economic environment using prudent fiscal and monetary policies with the objective of achieving the following:

Taxation

The current tax policies and laws have given rise to a lot of uncertainties and de-motivate investors as well as private business enterprises. This shall be reviewed and our tax laws consolidated. In particular:

  • All the different tax rates and categories will be reviewed to ensure equity and efficiency in the tax system;
  • Small businesses that are either break-even or operating at a loss shall be entitled to tax breaks within the first 4yrs of trading;
  • Tax holidays shall be made available to any emerging business that provides significant level of employment or has the potential of doing so;
  • The borehole tax levied on agricultural enterprises is a serious impediment to development in that sector and shall be removed.

Monetary Policy

The objective of our monetary policy is to encourage investment, strengthen the local currency and reduce inflation:

  • The independence and the capacity of the central bank to manage and direct the monetary policies of the economy shall be preserved and enhanced;
  • The regulatory framework for the supervision of the financial services sector shall be strengthened to ensure efficiency and prudent operation to safeguard and protect depositors’ funds;
  • A full liberal exchange rate policy will be maintained. Notwithstanding, we shall ensure that no one abuses the system to the detriment of the wider economy.

Private Sector

The growth and development of the private sector shall be an essential component of our overall economic policy. We fully recognise the importance and the potentials of the private sector and shall support and encourage their activities by providing an enabling policy environment for their growth with minimum government interference or intervention.

 We shall:

  • Consult with the private sector through the Gambia Chamber of Commercial and Industry on all issues of concern. The objective shall be to put in place friendly policies that would encourage and facilitate private sector growth and participation in our economic development;
  • Consider the views of the private sector as vital to our overall economic policy formulation and implementation processes;
  • Encourage and support a healthy public and private sector partnership to realise our micro-economic policy objectives.

Small business Development

The culture of small business development is not new in The Gambia. Our priority will be to increase and strengthen institutional support for this sector.

We shall:

  • Establish a Small Business Award Scheme and seek collaboration with small businesses to encourage competition;
  • Place special emphasis on promoting investment by providing the necessary policy environment and tax incentives;
  • Cut down on the bureaucracy, streamline and simplify our business and corporate laws to eliminate excessive red tape and uncertainty;
  • A special investment promotion body shall be established to pursue an aggressive investment policy that would attract foreign investment into the country, encourage local enterprise initiatives, and facilitate the sharing and transfer of technology and expertise among actors in the economy;
  • Tax incentives will be provided to private businesses that provide significant employment opportunities.

Energy 

Power supply remains a major constraint to our development efforts. We need power for our industries, hotels and households. Yet, access to power grid is either limited or not available in most parts of our country, and where it is available, it is either irregular or expensive.

We shall:

  • Increase the generating capacity of NAWEC and expand the supply of electricity in the country;
  • Improve the quality of service in power distribution and management;
  • Subsidise the high cost of electricity charged to nascent industries and companies to enhance their business potentials, efficiency and competitiveness;
  • Alternative energy sources will be explored to diversify our energy supply and reduce our dependence on diesel;
  • The bridge barrel project will be revisited to determine its feasibility and viability.

Transport and Communication

For a meaningful and sustainable economic development to take place, business people need good roads and a reliable communication system to conduct business. The present condition of our roads and communication facilities are unacceptable.

We shall:

  • Open the country to business by developing our road networks;
  • The Radio, Television and telecommunication services will be upgraded and given greater autonomy in programming and operations;
  • Private participation in Radio, TV and telecommunications services shall be accorded the enabling policy environment it deserves;
  • Information Technology development shall be given a high priority to ensure acquisition of IT knowledge by our people in this connected global sphere;
  • The Banjul International Airport and Seaport shall be developed and expanded to enhance The Gambia’s Gateway concept.

Employment

We shall endeavour to create jobs and provide the enabling environment for job creation. In this regard, the reforms envisaged in the agricultural sector and the anticipated investment in the manufacturing and tourism sectors as well as empowering small business growth will lead to the creation of new jobs especially for young people. This is envisaged to be a counter force against illegal migration through perilous routes.

We shall:

  • Invest in the human resources of The Gambia to ensure that we have the requisite skilled labour force required for our economic take-off. We shall not only focus on academic programs but give equal emphasis to skills acquisition through vocational training;
  • Employers will be obliged to invest a minimum amount in training their own work force and to make contribution to the national skills training programme;
  • Give women real and equal opportunities to engage in meaningful employment, with their employment rights fully protected under the law;
  • A culture of self-employment will also be promoted, with people in self-employment given support through our business policies and the tax system.