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President Barrow Appoints Trade Minister

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A Gambian-US-based Economist and Financial analyst has stated that the threat from Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to shut down operations on 17th October 2022 is bogus and politically motivated.

Dr. Assan Jallow, in an interview with this reporter from his based in the US, noted that all the four points raised in the association’s press release are made to ignite fear in the population, saying that such matters could have been handled through constant consultation and engagement with the government.

Dr. Jallow, who is currently pursuing his 2nd Doctorate Degree in Finance at the University of Wisconsin, White Water, observed that Oil Marketing Companies have failed to take into consideration what the gravity of the shutdown will cause the population who depends on fuel and petroleum products to generate their needed energy consumption in both at homes and their workplaces.

Meanwhile, a press release issued by the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) on 12th October 2022 stated that it will shut down operations on 17th October, a failure by the government of The Gambia to address their concerns.

OMCs further stated that their inability to access sufficient dollars on the market to buy stocks from suppliers, failure of banks to issue credit notes to OMCs as well as the government pricing structure for the last three months resulted in bankruptcy losses for OMCs and government defiance to make a profit on top of OMCs lead to taking such a decision are the reasons for Monday protest.

However, Dr. Assan Jallow defies the Oil Marketing Companies’ arguments stressing that the companies are only interested in making profits instead of taking into consideration the gravity of such action to shut down operations.

He pointed out that the decision to shut down production is a bogus and politically motivated move meant to generate fear in the heart and minds of the Gambians.

“OMCs’ decision to issue their politically-charged press release is flawed, as what they are promoting is nothing but creative management to get compensated through public pressures on the government. From a policy perspective, their stated issues are best resolved through coherent consultation, engagement, and collaboration with stakeholders and, in this case, the government of The Gambia,” Dr. Assan Jallow revealed.

He added: “At the most, the OMC’s plot could be compared to ‘playing softball with dirty politics” in trying to get the government to respond to their demands. Knowing full well that we have a reactionary government that ignores the long-term consequences of its actions.

“The OMCs, therefore, should avoid playing deceptive politics and show concern rather than becoming agents of economic profiteers.”

Dr Jallow observed that it seems the Gambia is operating in an economic court of kicking each other for what satisfies an individual or group’s self-interest by letting the ball play itself instead of kicking or playing the ball. He expressed further that the game is not currently being played based on the established protocols, rules, and regulations to get the outcomes of better results in our governance.

He continued to argue that the oil and gas business (petroleum products) and prices won’t come down any time soon despite there being a reduction in the cost of a barrel to $88.86, adding that the status quo can only be addressed through government intervene to address the supply chain challenges in many ways.

According to him, the inability to access sufficient dollars on the market by the OMCs’ can be resolved pending the availability of foreign currency in accounts in their trading names, and their respective banks. He noted also that the Central Bank of The Gambia as well should collaborate and coordinate to make it possible for them to have US$ dollars available to transact with their suppliers.

He said Central Bank must be cautious in dashing out foreign currency to OMCs’ as most of them own multiple companies and have shady business operations. He added that some other OMCs’ are also supplying money to most of the operators in the black market, diverting large sums of dollars into this sector to recoup immediate profits while at the same time blaming the limited access to US dollars.

Commenting on the issue of the banks no longer being able to issue credits, Dr. Jallow argued that is an internal matter and the onus lies on bad credit and the history of OMCs with their respective banks, this can be resolved if OMCs’ can meet and adhere to the governance of letters of credits and avoid become defaulting debtors.

He dismissed OMCs’ claim on the government’s pricing structure resulted in bankruptcy losses for OMCs, saying OMCs’ have failed to share any actual figures regarding the loss they complain about during this period in a bit to convince the Gambian people on the rationale for the ceasing of their production by 17th October 2022.

Dr. Jallow advised the Oil Marketing Companies to engage in consultative discussions and engagement with the government in addressing their concerns rather than resorting to a politically motivated shutdown of operations.

Mr. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia, in accordance with section 71(4) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, has relieved Honourable Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof of the portfolio of Minister responsible for the Public Service, Administrative Reforms, Policy Coordination and Delivery.

In the same vein, President Barrow in accordance with Section 71(1) and Section 71 (3) of the Constitution appointed Honourable Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof as Minister responsible for the portfolio of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment with immediate effect from today, 13th October 2022.

Also, in accordance with the same Constitutional provisions His Excellency, the President today 13th October 2022 appoints Mr. Baboucarr Bouy as Minister of Public Service, Administrative Reforms, Policy Coordination and Delivery, effective 1st November 2022.

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