Thursday, December 29, 2011


The prices of some locally produced goods will start to skyrocket come 2012 as the government has added more tax on domestically produced goods, something that will surely reflect on the final prices paid for these goods by consumers, whose earnings rarely increase.

As part of measures to remedy the declining revenue performance of the government, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs has announced that come 2012 it will widen the tax base in order to reverse the current decline in revenue and also reduce the swelling deficit of the country to the target that will allow sustainable growth in the economy.

Mambury Njie, Gambia's Minister of Finance
In this light, the Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Hon. Mambury Njie, while delivering the 2012 budget speech, said the government will expand excise tax coverage through the collection of excise taxes on domestically produced goods.  Excise tax is a tax levy on goods produced locally.

“This will certainly increase the cost on local producers,” said Abdoulie Baks Touray, an economist and financial analyst, who spoke to Marketplace Magazine shortly after the minister delivered the budget speech at the National Assembly on 17 December 2011. 


Gambian notes
Two prominent businessmen, whose names are withheld for legal reasons, have been arrested at the Angolan capital of Luanda whilst on their way to Hong Kong, a Chinese liberated country whose economy is based on free enterprise and trade.

Two Gambian residents of Angola were arrested few weeks ago at the ‘Fourth February Airport’ in Luanda with cash in the region of US$7 million by  the Angolan authorities, impeccable sources cited The Gambia’s Honorary Consul in Angola, Haggi Jawara, as saying.

Sources also quoted Mr Jawara as saying the money, which was in US dollar, was confiscated from the two prominent businessmen while trying to travel to Hong Kong on November 28 this year for business.


While the Gambia government is grappling with reversing the trend of the “significant drop” in revenues as a percentage to GDP from 17.5 per cent in 2007 to about 14 per cent in 2011, it also plans to put in place fiscal reforms that will review higher tax rates as well as broaden the tax base to make tax payments less burdensome.

With over 80 per cent of the Gambia government’s 2012 estimated total revenue to come from mainly taxation, it is interesting to see how the government could implement tax reforms that would ease out the increasing tax burden on businesses, entrepreneurs and, by extension, the people in 2012.

Gambia's Minister of Finance, Hon. Mambury Njie
However, according to the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mambury Njie, who read the 2012 national budget on 16 December at the National Assembly, the Gambia government intends to apply fiscal reforms that will include comprehensive tax reforms aimed at easing out the pressure and cumbersomeness of taxation in the country.

The finance minister said: “Fiscal reforms will also include a comprehensive tax reform with broad objectives of making the tax system much simpler, transparent and investment friendly by reviewing higher tax rates as well as broadening the tax base to make tax payments less burdensome.”


The Gambia Government has launched a project to provide matching grant support to qualifying Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and eligible private enterprises to become more competitive, grow their businesses, create jobs and increase household incomes.

The launching of the Matching Grant Facility on 27 December,  according to the Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, “signifies that we will be entering 2012 with hopes and aspirations to become better entrepreneurs with resolutions of creating employment, better services and sustained wealth for improved livelihood of the Gambian people”.

Gambia's Trade Minister, Hon. Kolley
In his launching statement at the Kairaba Beach Hotel recently, Trade Minister Abdou Kolley said the project would help The Gambia’s private sector to successfully partake and grow in the domestic and international market.

The Matching Grant Facility (MGF) is a sub-component of the World Bank-funded Growth and Competitiveness Program.  It seeks to confirm long-term sustainable job creation and income generation by providing enterprises in The Gambia with the necessary assistance to facilitate growth of their business in a planned, business-savvy manner.



The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has renewed and reinforced the prospects of The Gambia attaining her food self-sufficiency aspirations through a two-year project dubbed Food Security Commercialization of Agriculture (FSCA) funded by the Italian government to the tune of US$2 million.

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has rolled out a two-year US$2M food project called Food Security Commercialization of Agriculture (FSCA), to support the development of The Gambia’s agriculture and transform it into a modern, competitive and commercially vibrant sector.
Funded by the Italian government to the tune of US$2 million, the project aims at alleviating food insecurity through the commercialization of agriculture, said Amie Jallow, programme coordinator of the FSCA.


Officially launching the fifth edition of the Gambia International Biennial Trade Fair, President-elect Yahya Jammeh has called on Gambians to patronise homemade products and services saying in doing so each and everyone will be directly and indirectly contributing to wealth creation and poverty reduction in the country.

“This also ties perfectly well with my persistent call for Gambians to produce what we need and to eat what we produce,” the Gambian leader said at the weekend on the official opening of the trade fair on the theme “Made in the Gambia products and services” held by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) at the Independent Stadium in Bakau.


The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has urged member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to institute framework for criminal asset recovery.

This call was made at the recently concluded three-day regional workshop on criminal asset recovery. The workshop, which took place on 12 through 14 December 2011, was held at the National Assembly Complex in Praia, Cape Verde.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Director General of GIABA, Dr Abdullahi Shehu, represented by GIABA’s Director of Programmes and Projects Dr Buno Nduka, expressed concern that there are inadequate legal and institutional frameworks in West African countries to ensure that proceeds of crimes are forfeited, seized and recovered.

His words: “The absence of the necessary legal and institutional frameworks and mechanisms that facilitate the detection, prevention and deterrence of economic and financial crime often allow criminals to hide the proceeds of their crimes either in the country where the criminal activity was committed or abroad – thus, assisting criminals to conceal, disguise the source, ownership, control and movement of crimes thereby lowering the chances of detection.”

Monday, December 12, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: GIABA Organises Regional Seminar on Criminal Asset Recovery

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) is organising a Regional Seminar on Criminal Asset Recovery from 12 to14 December, 2011 at the National Assembly in Praia, Cape Verde.

The objective of the Seminar is to bring together stakeholders involved in the implementation of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism measures in GIABA member States to deliberate on the need to deprive criminals of the benefits of their criminal activities through the recovery of proceeds of crime and stolen assets.

Gambia Revenue Signals Downward Trend while Expenditure Increases

By all indicators, The Gambia government revenue performance has signaled a downward trend over the years while expenditure has continued to increase giving rise to budget deficit that continues to swell year on year.
The country’s fiscal performance has continued to be challenged by higher-than-projected expenditures by the government that is un-matched by the country’s revenue performance.

Hon. Njie, Minister of Finace
In light of this, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs has said it will widen the tax base to reverse the current decline in revenue and reduce the deficit to the target that will allow sustainable growth in the economy.

“Such measures include broaden the tax base, enhance tax payers’ compliance, and reducing the maximum tax rate,” Hon. Mamburay Njie, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs (MOFEA), said recently at the National Assembly while tabling the draft 2012 estimates of revenue and expenditure including the development expenditure of the government for the fiscal year January 1 to December 31, 2012.

Are 13 Banks Too Many for Gambia?

Bankers divided in opinion

The question of whether 13 banks in The Gambia are too many for The Gambia with about 1.8 million people (2010 estimates) is hot in the hearts and minds of many people, especially financial players and banking practitioners in the country, who have divergent views over the issue.

The influx of banks in the country over the years has made the country a highly competitive financial sector in Africa.

With a banking population of less than 25% of about 1.8 million people, it is just normal that concerns are raised on whether 13 banks is not too much for the system, which is why some senior  bank officials continue to make viable comments on the issue, with some nursing the view that “Gambia is too small for 13 banks”.

Dodou Nyang, Sales and Marketing Manager of Trust Bank
For instance, Trust Bank Sales and Marketing Manager Dodou Nyang is reported to have said that The Gambia is too small for 13 commercial banks, hence making the country the most competitive banking country in Africa.

This is partly responsible for the failure or bad performance of some banks in the last two years, says Mr Nyang, who is of the view that in the next two to three years, there would be more bank failures “because the country is too small for 13 banks”. 
“Inevitably, the Gambian banking industry will be reduced to may be seven, six, or eight banks at the most in the next five years,” Mr Nyang said.

Supermarkets, hotels 'refuse' to sell homemade foodstuffs

The Gambia Association of Food Processors has accused supermarkets and hotels in the country of trying to put them out of business by refusing to sell locally processed foodstuffs.

The secretary general of the association said the growth of the business of food and juice processing in The Gambia is at a standstill because “there are too much bottlenecks in carrying out their trade, key among them is the refusal by supermarkets and most hotels in the country to sell Gambian-made foodstuffs.

Isaac Thomas, Food Processors SG
In an interview with Gambia News Online, Isaac Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Gamjuice, a local juice processing firm, said most of the supermarkets refuse to trade in foodstuffs locally produced. 

Most of them (supermarkets) do not even have a space to sell Gambian foodstuffs because there is usually no special shelf for Gambian products, he said.

A common reason given by the supermarkets for refusing to sell homemade products is that they don’t have ready-made cash to buy the products, Mr Thomas said.

National Bureau Augments Understanding of Insurance Practitioners on Ecowas Brown Card

The Gambia National Bureau of Ecowas Brown Card Scheme last week held a two day seminar geared towards augmenting and reinforcing understanding of participants about the Ecowas Brown Card Insurance Scheme with the ultimate aim of acquainting them with the new secured brown card, which will take effect on 1st January 2012.

The training, which started on 1st December at the secretariat of the Insurance Association of the Gambia (IAG) in Banjul, brought together motor and claims managers of member companies of the IAG and it availed them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new brown card in preparation of its introduction.

The Brown Card
“Training is designed to acquaint motor and claims managers with the Ecowas Brown Card Insurance Scheme because these are the people who deal with the public as they are the ones who sell the card and handle claims that come in,” said Ebou L Bittaye, Chairman of the Gambia National Bureau.

Gambia's Biennial Trade Fair Commences

The 5th biennial trade fair of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), which runs for about two weeks at the Independent Stadium in Bakau, commenced on 8 December and officially opened by the Vice President of the country, Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy.

The trade fair is held to bring wide range of economic operators into close contacts to build effective partnerships that will positively impact on development of the private sector towards sustainable growth and development.

Speaking at a press conference held at the GCCI office on Kairaba Avenue recently, Almamy Taal, Chief Executive Officer of GCCI, said the theme of the 11-day event is “Promoting Made in The Gambia”.

Explaining the rationale behind choosing such a theme, Mr Taal said: “We are trying to see how best we can help our members to make products that are not only fit for local consumption but are also good enough to compete in the international market.”