25 April 2014

Gambia: Open the Border to Save the Re-Export Trade

Neither the Gambian nor the Senegalese people could gain any benefit from border closure. The informal trade in the Sub-region is not well documented but analysts could read in between the lines to know that the re- export trade alone earns The Gambia more than Three billion dalasis per annum.

That is equivalent to one third of the National budget. The borders are the gate way for the re-export trade of the Gambia and the pathway for the movement of people, goods and services between Northern and southern Senegal and beyond.

Foroyaa has closely monitored the impact of the closure of the border and has reported on the contraction of business activity that it has engendered Therefore, after four months of closure, People on all sides of the border has welcomed the opening of the border.

The issuing of an executive directive to close it again is at best worrisome and at worst counterproductive. This action is most unexpected of the government which needs to boost earnings from import duties to increase revenue for public expenditure.

Once the re-export trade is allowed to contract, government revenue will also follow.

On the other hand, many people who are benefitting from the cross border trade are Senegalese entrepreneurs who repatriate their earnings to Senegal. Hence any contraction of the cross border trade would impact on their earnings.

The contradiction between the GPA and the Senegalese transport union led to a negotiation between the stakeholders which provided a unique opportunity to handle disputes without inter-state negotiation.

Executive decisions however would move the contradiction to the rank of an inter-state dispute.

The Early warning directorate of ECOWAS should take note. Foroyaa will now follow the developments and keep the stakeholders and the general public informed.


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