His Excellency, President Adama Barrow has urged the wealthy among the Sarahulleh community in The Gambia to venture into importation and supply of basic commodities, rather than leaving the trade to non-Gambians.
The President said there was a point in Gambia when Gambians dominated the trade in basic goods and prices were not as biting on the ordinary consumers as it is today. He recalled names like Alhaji Modou Musa Njie & Sons, Alhaji TaiboTunkara, Alhaji Marie Tambadou, and Alhaji Taibo (all deceased) that were leading Sarahulei businessmen who invested their wealth for greater national good.
"As third President of independent Gambia, I do not need a translator to communicate with you. You are hardworking, wealthy and God-fearing people. Basic goods used to be imported by Gambians. Today, this trade is taken over by non-Gambians," he told the gathering at the State House over the weekend.
The President maintained that the wealthy among the Sarahullehs have "the financial clout" to take back the imports of basic commodities. In fact, you have the wherewithal to take back Gambia's economy from foreign businessmen," he added, expressing delight at receiving the high profile delegation at the State House.
Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hon. Hamat N.K. Bah, also added his voice to the call: "This is the closest that the Sarahullehs ever came to the presidency of this country. Hence you should render all the support that President Barrow requires of you," he told them.
According to the Tourism Minister, his office has already received a number of applications from Sarahulleh businessmen for hotel construction in the country. He said the Sarahulles believe in clean business; they are notable industrialists and leading examples of great entrepreneurs contributing to the economy.
He told the gathering that they should encourage their wealthy ones to invest in factories, rather than buying houses costing over D10Million when they can create hundreds of jobs by building factories with less than D3Million.
"Houses for rent does not bring wealth in ways compared to these factories. Impact of factories on economy would be even greater. Such an investment will continually give you voice and powers that any future government will need to work with you," Hon. Bah told them.
The group, coming from over 52 Sarahulleh communities across the country, comprised the Sarahulleh Association of The Gambia, otherwise called "Sumpu do Xati".
According to Sheriff Tambadou, the purpose of their visit was to express traditional solidarity and gratitude to the President, as was the days of the First Republic under President Jawara. Such interactions with the president help add new knowledge to the management of the affairs of the nation, he said.
Alhaji Baharou Waggeh said the trip was purely voluntary among the community leaders. You are our son and our nephew; we moulded you into the man you have become. We will give you the support you need to lead this country," the old man told President Barrow.
Other speakers include the Minister of Local Government and Lands, Musa Drammeh.