Monday, September 5, 2011
GCCI Boss: Information Sharing Nurtures “Openness and Transparency”
Mr. Bai Matarr Drammeh, the President of The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), has told governmental officials, members of the Civil Society Organisations and development partners that it is through the sharing of information on state activities and operations, there could be transparency in the country.
Drammeh was presenting a paper at the launch of the maiden TANGO policy dialogues held at the TANGO Conference hall in Fajara ‘M’ Section.
In his exposition, Drammeh remarked that sharing of information would effectively nurture “openness and transparency” which, he underlined, are crucial to government’s mandate and would again contribute to sustainable economic development and social progress of its citizenry.
For national development to be meaningful, GCCI Prexy charged, effective and result in poverty reduction, adequate policies would be required to institute a system of state disclosure and access to information.
The private sector, he further told his audience, are concerned with multiple sets of actions and commitments conducive to investment especially in the production sectors. Such, he pointed out, are the basics of social and economic development; and are supported by inclusive government policies for economic growth through the development of productive and trade capacities.
Drammeh cited the critical ingredients of productive capacity development as finance, knowledge, energy, physical infrastructure and water.
In order to build productive capacity as a nation, he said there must be incorporate adequate policies in three economic sectors: agriculture, industry, and services.
And the other critical areas are energy, institutional and legislative framework for business, private sector development,environmental policies and decent employment. In this way, he is optimistic that employment opportunities would be available, while adding that, that would guarantee inclusive development, income gains, employment and access to health,education and relevant infrastructure both physical and institutional. Buttressing his presentation on energy and agriculture, the GCCI boss stated that adequate policies would be required to improve the welfare of the Gambian population by improving access to affordable and reliable modern energy services.
“Any national policy dialogue that does not recognise energy as the single most important ingredient for adequate development and global competitiveness, will be spinning its wheels on the same spot foot the long term,” said GCCI head.
Quoting the ADB Group, Drammeh said the lack of access to modern energy for industrial use impedes enterprise start-up and expansion of opportunities.
He continued,“It undermines competitiveness and access to market thus preventing income generation which is essential for the financial sustainability of the energy sector.”
Drammeh positioned that with improvements in energy production and transmission, technology offers great potential for mitigating negative effects on the sector. Meeting urgent energy, he said, is the prime objective, and that it is necessary to take into account environment and climate change concerns to enable the country to gradually embark on a sustainable low carbon growth path.
This would require scalling up investments in the energy sector to increase generation capacity.
While private sources have been playing an increasingly important role in financing energy investments, a large share of the long-term energy investment will need to be covered from public sources, he opined.
Drammeh sees agriculture as the largest employing sector in The Gambia ,adding that development of agriculture should be done in a way which facilitates the diversification of our economy and structural transformation in order to address mass poverty and the expansion of employment opportunities.
Despite many and complex obstacles the country faced, GCCI President believed there is considerable scope for successful economic activity in non traditional exports such as horticulture, fishing and tourism which have significant growth potential.
However, national policies and measures implemented in Low Developing Countries (LDCs) have not generated the form and quality of growth that can prevent them from global marginisation.
Hence, there is a need for a paradigm shift in development policies and strategies in our countries, he suggested.
Noting that a critical issue with regard to national policies is the role of the state, he went on to add that one basic function of the state is to ensure peace.
“The private sector operates best under peaceful circumstances,” according to him, stating that pragmatism and predictability are also crucial.
Therefore, the pendulum, predictability, pragmatism, peace, public goods, and private sector (the 6Ps), he pointed out, provide the basic for a broad understanding for developing productive of national capacities in which the state has an important development role. He concluded by saying that as far as trade is concerned, the development of productive capacities and building of international competitiveness could be assisted through commercially meaningful duty free and quota free market access for private products.