Unable to fulfill missions towards members
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), apex body of the private sector operators in the country, is undergoing difficulties constraint hence not able to meet its needs, fulfill its missions toward members, and also unable to hire more professional staff to be part of the team to run daily affairs of the Secretariat effectively, Gambia News Online can reveal.
|GCCI CEO, Almami Fanding Taal|
“In adequate financial resources has been a major setback for GCCI in terms of addressing the growing demands of the private sector,” the annual reports and financial statements for the years 2006 – June 2012 of the Chamber has stated.
Due to financial predicament, the GCCI membership training has not been conducted for quite some time owing to the cost involved; it was difficult to mobilize interested participants.
The report, presented at the annual general meeting of the GCCI held on 5th October, 2012 at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi, said the dinner lecture series of the Chamber was suspended due to lack of follow up and financial support.
The Gambia News Online understands that some members and partners of the GCCI were becoming reluctant in sponsoring or being part of GCCI activities organized for the membership, causing financial constraints for the Chamber.
Due to lack of effective implementation of its missions towards members as a result of insufficient finances, the Chamber is finding it difficult to retain current membership and also recruitment of new members is a daunting challenge.
The number of members of the Chambers has been increasing from 2009 to 2010 but the membership neither increased nor decreased from 2010 to 2011 and it started to decrease from 2011 to 2012.
According to the 2006 – 2012 report, the Chamber blamed its financial predicament on non-payment of annual subscription by the majority of its members.
However, Gambia News Online can reveal that over the past few years, the GCCI has been concentrating on advocacy rather on activities that would provide value for money for the membership.
The apex body of the Gambia private sector has two vehicles, which were procured in 2005, after almost seven years; the vehicles have outlived their usefulness and road worthiness. “One of the vehicles is already grounded,” the report said.
However, the report has it that the GCCI is working on a series of arrangement to address these constraints. As part of such arrangements, the Secretariat is exploring innovative ways of mobilizing more financial resources for operations such as organizing Trade Fair Gambia on an annual basis instead of once every two years, and publishing of the business directory.
Also, the Chamber has written and sent project proposals to local and international strategic partners to engage them to support long term programmes for the benefit of the business community.
Besides, benefits and services to the membership are under continuous review to reflect their changing and varied needs. The report said the new direction of the GCCI is to implement activities that would benefit members and to continuously engage them in dialogue.
The primary functions of the GCCI are provision of essential business services to the private sector in general and its members, in particular, as well as giving business advice and influencing government in creating an environment conducive for business to thrive in the country.
One of GCCI’s strengths over the years has been its role as the Employers Association of the Gambia and the representation its members in the Tripartite Framework championed by the International Labour Organization, creating recognition at all fora and increasing the members image through international representation.