The Government of The Gambia, through the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and with support from enhance integrated framework, has met private investors to delineate path for a private sector led growth.
The government seeks to achieve its growth target through its Public Private Partnership policy which was devised and launched in 2014 to foster greater private sector involvement in key priority areas of investment like energy and transportation, among others.
The one day PPP policy dialogue which bordered on the theme “PPP for sustainable development” was held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, yesterday January 27.
The Gambia’s finance minister, Abdou Colley, said government has recognized PPPs as a strategic mechanism for procuring, financing and delivering public infrastructure and related public services in an efficient and effective manner.
Colley whose speech was delivered on his behalf by the tourism minister, Benjamin Robert, added that utilizing the financial and human resources capacities of private investors, PPP will help in cooling down pressure national budget.
“PPPs are critically important in meeting the challenge for sustainable development. The high demand for infrastructural development, coupled with the pressures on national budgets, is making many governments move towards encouraging the private sector to invest in infrastructural projects,” minister Colley said.
“In The Gambia, a narrow tax base, growing populations and aging infrastructure are straining the Government’s capacity. The Government has recognized these challenges and has therefore adopted a national policy to encourage the use of Public Private Partnership (PPP) as means of leveraging public and private sector resources and expertise to close the infrastructure and services.”
The forum was organized by GCCI and ministry of trade with funding support from enhance integrated framework.
Alieu Secka, CEO of GCCI, the mediating party between private investors and government in the country, said The Gambia’s future economic prosperity depends on closer collaboration between the public and private sector.
“There is no doubt that Public Private Partnership… is the foundation for success and our objectives therefore, must be common… PPP present an opportunity for private sector growth and… it ensures public services are delivered most economically, efficiently and effectively. With PPP, everybody wins,” he said.
“Clearly there must be calculated actions by both private sector and Government to address the energy challenge. The benefit of that will be huge because productivity will rise and The Gambia will be much more competitive in attracting foreign direct investments…”
Similar messages were delivered by Bye Jobe, the project coordination enhance integrated project, an institution that holds a stake in the staging of the forum.
With barely a month after the start of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals which calls for among other things eradication of poverty, officials are certain that PPP is that cart that will deliver the goods.
Also in attendance was Abdoulie Baks Touray, one of the most inspirational public speakers in the country and an ardent advocate of entrepreneurship development in the country.
Touray said The Gambia might not have natural resources but has no excuse to be poor and underdeveloped given the rich human capability it has.
“The Gambia is too talented and too small to be underdeveloped… The richest people in the world today are those that have made maximum use of their mind-power,” he said, citing Bill Gate as an example of how human resource can lift one out of poverty.
“What is obvious is that regardless of your size, you can achieve anything…Everyone has talent… and talent plus opportunity equals to success…”
Also in attendance were various private investors and executives as well as other government officials from various departments.