By Own Correspondent – The minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment has told a gathering at a cocktail reception held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel Wednesday that government has limited resources and thus has to take difficult decisions.
Abdou Colley was speaking at the launching of the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) brand. “So we have to take difficult decisions and what do we do? We have limited budget and we have demands on the road and we try to cut here and there and nothing works at the end. So we decided to zero down everything in 2010 and work up gradually and in so doing, every sector was cut,” he stated.
According to him, government also identified priority sectors and activities for which in the event they get supplementary financing and GIEPA is among those giving priority.
The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) is the new Agency established by The Gambia Government from the 1st July 2010 to replace The Gambia Investment Promotion and Free Zones Agency (GIPFZA).
It is, among others, mandated to promote, facilitate and attract foreign direct investment into and within The Gambia, facilitate business and export development, and enterprise support and development.
The new brand consists of the mission statement, vision, slogan and logo, all of which combined the image of the agency and what its represents.
“In 2010, the government of the Gambia took the wise decision to transform GIPZA to GIEPA. By setting up GIEPA, the government has thus restated its commitment not only to ensure investment flows, but also to build a strong base and ensure sustained support to MSMES.”
GIEPA, Minister Colley went on, has a mandate and a key role to play not only to promote private investment and export as well as entrepreneurship and enterprise but development, which he said are key strategies for economic development.
“The establishment of GIEPA represents a determination on the part of the government to demonstrate continuity and at the same time embrace changes in action that are needed in an ever evolving world. At the heart of GIEPA is a continued commitment to encourage, promote and concretize strategies for private sector led growth that creates wealth and generates employment,” Colley added.
He noted that as we reflect on the future, we must move beyond rhetoric and assert through deeds and actions the role of this agency. “GIEPA must be in the forefront and must demonstrate a willingness to act on challenges, which can only be addressed and over come through a collective response,” he concluded.
For her part, the Chief Executive Officer of GIEPA, Mrs Fatou Mbenga-Jallow, stated that the idea of partnership and collaboration for sustainable delivery of services embodies within GIEPA a commitment towards practical engagement as a critical norm and values for achieving success.
This, she said, is an emphasis that they have placed at the centre of their vision. “Such a focus would require that we undertake practical activities that would engender socio-economic development through the promotion and attraction of investments, development of the export base, and support to micro, small, and medium enterprises,” she noted.
According to her, government has created the enabling environment for private sector to take a lead in the economic development, adding that there are challenges but by working together, these challenges would be overcome.
Other speakers included the Chairperson of GIEPA board of directors, Fatou Sinyan-Mbergan and Alagie Cherno Ceesay, Director of Corporate Affairs at GIEPA.