By: Momodou Justice Darboe
The cost of doing business at the Banjul Port has been shooting up thanks to the various layers that have to be navigated to complete port transactions, The Voice Businesshas discovered.
Businessmen usually complain that the cost of business transactions at the Gambia’s only seaport is increasingly threatening to put the port into the league of most expensiveports in the sub-region.
The labyrinth of layers that cargo owners have to go through to clear their cargo is significantly pushing up the costs, this medium gathered.
Currently, staff members of more than five institutions of State are on the ground at the seaport and importers said this situation is not only affecting their businesses but is cascading to the consumer community in the prices of goods.
The Food Safety and Quality Assurance Authority (FSQA), GRA, the national police, State Intelligence Services (SIS), Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (DLEAG), GPA and clearing agents are some of the layers to be negotiated before goods are cleared at the ports.
“All these layers, in one way or another, contribute to the cost of doing business at the ports. Sometimes, money has to change hands at any of these layers and this is increasing the cost of doing business at the port,” an importer of food items explained to The Voice Business.
“The more the layers, the more money consumers have to pay because the cost is automatically transferred to them,” another importer said.
Some importers opined that some of the costs associated with doing business at the ports could be trimmed if the various layers could also be trimmed.
Meanwhile, the Banjul port is also struggling with the challenge of cargo diversion to other ports in the sub-region.
According to authorities, the volume of transactions at the port has outgrown the facility.
However, authorities announced some two months ago that efforts were in progress to build a deepsea port in Sanyang.
Several decades of underinvestment in the Banjul port has given rise to congestion and loss of revenue at the facility.