Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment recently held a day stakeholder validation of the National Trade Policy of 2018-2022 at the Atlantic Hotel in Banjul. The validation was held to carry out the update of the National Trade Policy 2011.
Permanent Secretary of the ministry Abdoulie T.B. Jarra emphasized that strategic focus must to observed in efforts to promote trade development in The Gambia.
He explained that Gambia's trade balance has not been very good since the last trade policy was formulated in 2011 reaching D12.4 billion, while in 2016 it was D 6billion.
Mr. Jarra believes that the major challenge has been repeated in the national development plan due to weak export base and production capacity of the economy. "I have always believed that trade is an engine for growth particularly for small countries like The Gambia," he added.
He further stated that the current national policy was formulated in 2011 with the objective to establish and maintain a supportive national trading system. "At regional level, ECOWAS is finalizing the development of its common policy. The EPA negotiation has been completed and the agreement has been signed and AU has recently agreed on a Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) which developed impact on trade in The Gambia," he said.
He added that, "we should ensure that the trade policy we are validating today helps in repositioning The Gambia to take advantage of all these opportunities."
Presenting on the Trade Policy, Abdoulie Colley stated that the document aims to address the current challenges in the business environment with the objective to establish and maintain a competitive and liberal trade environment that is supportive of private sector development. "Economic progress in The Gambia has been marred with challenges associated with deteriorating climatic condition and Gambia has also used trade as an instrument to help transform the economy and support private sector of development," he stated.
He further stated that the goal of Trade Policy is to enable The Gambia to promote competition and consumer welfare, reduce poverty and strengthen the country's cooperation with her neighboring countries.
He added that since 2011, many new developments and initiatives have taken place both at national and regional levels.