|Mrs Barry, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade|
“The MTP will strengthen the competitiveness of the Gambian economy as government strives to pursue an export-led strategy,” said Naffie Barry, permanent secretary of Trade ministry, while speaking at the MTP review meeting held recently at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
While the MTP is key in integrating trade into the national development planning framework, it also aims at improving and maintaining a competitive trading environment that is capable of enhancing domestic production, improving export performance and harnessing The Gambia’s comparative advantages in the service sector.
The policy is the result of a diagnosis trade study conducted in 2007 as part of efforts at enhancing the mainstreaming of trade into national development strategies.“The study identifies directions for establishing a more sustainable foundation for the country’s position as a trade gateway to the region,” she added.
However, this cannot be achieved in the absence of improving the national transport system and reinforcing its efficient trade facilitation services, while recognizing the limited potential of growth.
The MTP focuses on enhancing the key productive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing as well as the service sector such as telecommunication, energy and tourism.
PS Barry says the government will not backtrack in collaborating with partners in their collective effort to mobilize resources for the implementation of the MTP within a framework of global aid for trade initiatives. “The essence of developing an MTP is to ensure that Aid for Trade-related Resources is channeled through the normal programmable Official Development Assistance,” she noted.
The formulation of the MTP is timely as government continues to take strategic moves in formulating the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE).
Mrs Barry says the policy will provide an input into the PAGE and by extension serve as a scaffold for mainstreaming trade into national development programmes.