Monday, March 27

Trade minister plans to reduce cost of goods clearance at ports 

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He also said his ministry had engaged shipping agencies and other stakeholders to address price hikes in the country. 

“We conducted meetings with shipping and clearing agencies alongside other relevant stakeholders within the value chain with a view to discussing and identifying measures to minimize cost of clearance at the ports,” Minister Joof said.

“One of the key outcomes of these meetings was the identification and scheme lining of services provided by shipping agencies including the terminal and line point handling charges. In this regard the ministry wrote to shipping agencies to streamline their charges based on services they provide to conform to international standards.” 

He said further: “The ministry has also strengthened its collaboration with the Gambia Ports Authority and the Gambia Revenue Authority to ensure timely facilitation of clearance of imports of key essential commodities to avoid high charges. 

“We have also maintained a high collaboration with the Central Bank of The Gambia to help facilitate the availability of the required foreign exchange for settlement of import payments of essential commodities 

“We are working with trade-related institutions to strengthen our engagement in our drive to streamline procedures and guidelines of fees and charges associated with importation of goods with a view to reducing the burden on the importers, which they ultimately transfer to the consumers.” 

The minister said they are also engaging relevant government institutions to establish a mechanism of regulating the shipping agencies. 

“The ministry monitors the stock and price levels of essential commodities such as rice, sugar, flour, edible oils, and others, to ensure these commodities are in adequate available quantities and affordable to the public. This is done through regular consultations with the key importers and major retailers of these essential commodities to discuss and address challenges they face in the distribution of the commodities,” he reported.

The global price of food commodities have been increasing to unprecedented levels since 2020, the trade minister affirmed, saying: “This is due to negative impacts of Covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine war and poor weather conditions that significantly disrupted the global supply chain resulting to increases in prices and in some cases export restrictions from the exporting countries.”