The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency has been given additional task to provide services to the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to get access to finance, Kebba Touray, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, has said.
|Trade Minister Kebba Touray|
The Agency, whose main tasks include promoting and facilitating investment, business and export development in the country, is also mandated to provide small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with business development services to sustain their growth and development.
This has followed the dissolution of the Indigenous Business Advisory Services (IBAS), a government institution established to provide aid and support, as well as serve as an impetus, to indigenous small and medium-sized enterprises in the country.
This revelation was made on Tuesday during the question-and-answer session of the second meeting of the National Assembly in the 2012 Legislative Year.
The trade minister’s statement was prompted by a question posed by the National Assembly Member for Janjanbureh, Foday Jibani Manka, who asked the minister to “inform this Assembly the current service of this institution (IBAS) and its effectiveness, to be able to strengthen and promote a dynamic enterprise culture providing necessary ingredients which will accelerate socio-economic growth for Gambians, particularly for unemployed youths”.
In response, Trade Minister Kebba Touray said as part of government policy for rationalizing and harmonizing institutions for greater impact, the ministry has taken a decision to dissolve IBAS and transfer its functions to the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA).
He said: “This is in pursuance of the government’s new focus on the development of programmes to support and promote the development of the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) as they are increasingly becoming drivers of employment for many Gambians including youths and women.
“For this reason, government extended the mandate of GIEPA through the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Act of 2010, to provide support for the development of MSMEs wherever they are throughout this country.”
Hon. Touray said his ministry has started implementing the government’s decision to close IBAS through the following: “An assessment of all IBAS’s assets and liabilities was conducted in November 2011 to enable the development of appropriate measures for the effective execution of enterprise development services by GIEPA.
“GIEPA has been engaged for suitable qualified members of staff of IBAS to be deployed to GIEPA, which now performs the core IBAS functions. This process has started and the selected staff are progressively being interviewed for recruitment.
“My ministry has been working closely with the Personnel Management Office (PMO), Ministry of Finance, and other stakeholders since 2011 to ensure that suitable personnel of IBAS, whose profile may not be required in GIEPA, are redeployed within the civil services. Until this is brought to its logical conclusion, arrangement is in place to make sure all staff are paid their full salary during this transition.”
Minister Touray explained that GIEPA has already started executing its mandate to provide support for enterprise development through its Enterprise Support and Development Department and a new momentum will be given to the provision of support services to the MSMEs to help them grow as well as to promote the involvement of more Gambians in the sector.