15 April 2014

Gambia: Stakeholders Validate GIEPA Act and Regulations

Stakeholders from different institutions have reviewed and validated the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency's (GIEPA) Act 2010 and 2012 Regulation. The World Bank financed the event, which was held at the Paradise Suites Hotel.

Speaking at the occasion, Naffie Barry, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry Regional Integration and Employment underscored the significance of the event, while reminding the gathering about the importance attached to the bill. As a Ministry responsible for private sector development and investment promotion, she said, one of their roles is to ensure that their business environment remain competitive and one way of doing that is by constantly reviewing their policies and relevant laws to keep pace with changing dynamics of global business environment.

"The needs of the investors changes with time and thus need to keep abreast with changes in order to remain an attractive destinations for investment, particularly Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)," she added. The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry Regional Integration and Employment stated that the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency Act 2010 and Regulations 2012 are relatively new but that the rapid changes in the business environment both in the Gambia and the world at large necessitated the review.

The close monitoring of our competitors in the region by benchmarking ourselves against their performance and international best practice, necessitate the need to review the current act and regulations. The move she noted has also been informed by the lessons learnt and knowledge of what obtains elsewhere around the world.

PS Barry went on to add that, considering the diverse mandate of GIEPA, addressing all its bottle necks adequately in a single legislation has been a challenge for the Ministry. According to her, some of the areas such as MSME development and export promotion have been considered inadequately addressed in the current Act and Regulation. She said the Gambia government recognizes the private sector as the engine of growth as stipulated in all their development blue prints. The recent reform undertaken by government, she noted, focuses on policies and regulatory frameworks that enhance the role of private sector in the development of the country's economy. "It is therefore hoped that the revision of the Act will capture the needs of the private sector in relation to attracting and sustaining both foreign and domestic investment, improve our export potential and extend meaningful support to micro, small and medium enterprises," PS Barry stated. She however, stated that the diverse background of stakeholders gathered at the forum gives them enough knowledge and experience to produce a revised Act reflective of a competitive business environment, in making the Gambia the place to invest and do business. Naffie Barry finally urged the stakeholders to use the opportunity to discuss the draft bill in the context of their development, bearing in mind international best practices.

She also thanked Amie Benouda and co for the professional manner in which this assignment has been executed and all other stakeholders for their inputs in putting together this bill. Fatou Jallow, the chief executive officer (CEO) GIEPA spoke among other things about the importance of the bill. She equally urged the participants to make best use of their knowledge and experience in validating the draft bill.

Fatou Sinyang Mergan, secretary general/administrator at Banjul Breweries chaired the occasion.

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