As The Gambia experiences infrastructural challenges in its seaports resulting in many cargos being discharged in Senegalese ports, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Lamin Dampha, has told The Point that this could have been a gain to the country.
Currently, the government has announced the expansion of the Seaport and promised to treat it with urgency. However, it continues to be a challenge for Gambians who discharge their goods in Senegal. The Central Bank of The Gambia in its last Monetary Policy Committee press conference states that amongst the causes of high inflation is the structural bottlenecks in the Gambia seaport.
In an interview held in his office, PS Dampha stated that losing trade to Senegal is really affecting trade. “Instead of discharging our goods in our own territory, there is an increasing number being discharged in Senegalese ports.”
“This means that we are losing that trade to Senegal which could have been a gain for the country. Here is a custom country and we expect whatever good is destined to the country, to be discharged in our ports and not in other ports.”
“The rest of the exports are done by road and we have more road restrictions. That’s a disadvantage and it can frustrate traders. We wish that any cargo destined for the country should be discharged in our ports instead of using secondary ports.”
He continued that the government is doing a lot of work looking at the port’s expansion, adding the port is a strategic asset for the country. He said port alone could contribute significantly to the transformation of the country’s economy.
PS Dampha told our reporter that the port requires lots of investments and the government is looking at various options to expand ports and provide services that can transform the economy.
“We believe that in the near future, what is happening now in our ports will not happen. I believe that if we are able to expand the ports, Senegal cannot compete with us because we are more efficient and can attract more trade than them.”