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Gambia: Good Morning Mr. President – On Fuel Crisis, CBG And Airport Levy

Mr. President, the government and oil marketing companies should be applauded for reaching a solution which will pave the way for the populace.

Government should work out modalities and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with oil marketing companies to avoid future fuel shortages like last Friday and Saturday. Government should give out incentives in terms of taxes or duties to the oil marketing companies to avoid an increase in the price of fuel. Government should also make sure such kinds of situations no longer occur as it affects the lives of the people of The Gambia. It is good for the government to maintain the prices of fuel.

Mr. President, Friday’s fuel shortage in the country took everyone by surprise and no one understands what and why it happened. No public announcement from any stakeholders has been made and residents are left with no answers. Public transport which is essential for people to get to work came to a halt and left many wondering when this will stop. The public and the private sectors are both heavily affected by this shortage and count on the government to intervene and solve this issue forever to avoid further disruption and economic problems.

Mr. President, we commend the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) for their move to lift the ban on forex dealers to sell directly to the market and allow traders to pay their bills. The last few months have been extremely stressful for everyone in the sector of import/export including the stakeholders of government agencies. This move would allow traders to pay their bills to suppliers, take their goods from the port and avoid any shortages especially in essential commodities.

This will further allow The Gambia import/export to run the way it used to.

Finally Mr. President, we recognise that no government, agency or institution survives without sources or means of generating revenue and income. We are appalled by that the airport tax being taken from outbound passengers is heartrending and displeasing.

The policy of asking people to pay airport tax at the point of departure can be very embarrassing, to say the least, especially when someone has bought an air ticket or is with a return ticket and has spent all they had thinking they were to only get checked at the airport and go onboard their flight for departure. Asking someone to pay airport tax at that point when he or she may not have budgeted for such expenditure or payment can be shocking, embarrassing and challenging. It is causing and will continue to cause serious challenges for people at our airport.