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STATEMENT BY GCCI CHIEF PATRON HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT ADAMA BARROW
AT THE ANNUAL BUSINESS AWARDS NIGHT, COCO-OCEAN RESORT HOTELFRIDAY 12nd MAY 2017
Honorable Cabinet Ministers,
Hon. Secretary General,
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,
Distinguished Guests of Honour,
Guest Speaker – QCELL CEO,
Managing Directors, CEO’s and distinguished members of the business community
Members of the media fraternity
Ladies and gentlemen
As the Chief Patron of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a former businessman, it gives me great pleasure to be here with the business community this evening to recognize some worthy champions of an enterprise. The last few years were particularly challenging for everyone, but more so for our entrepreneurs and Corporations. We all remember the difficult environment under which the business community, public enterprises and by extension all Gambians were living under.
Together, the people of this great country have chosen a new direction, a path to democracy, respect for human rights and a tolerant and open society ready to do business within and beyond our borders for greater prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me commend the GCCI for being among the first to defend the will of the Gambian people by boldly asking the former President to respect the outcome of the December 2nd, 2016 Presidential polls. This gesture has greatly contributed to the emergence of the new Gambia where every business is free to practice their trade without any artificial interference. We have since welcomed to our shores many business operators all interested in joining in our transformative agenda.
Indeed we inherited a lot of challenges; key among them is the poor energy sector but also the high tax burden and low investment in the productive sectors of the economy.
I am pleased to reaffirm my government’s strong commitment to overcome these hurdles to ensure the greater positive impact on both the public and private sector and for all stakeholders. The task ahead is enormous and Government cannot do it alone. Therefore the private sector as the engine of growth must take its full responsibility in the new dispensation for the betterment of all Gambians.
Clearly, our challenges may be many, but they also provide a great opportunity for businesses. It is, therefore, important for the public and private sectors to explore creative ways to attract and retain high-value investments for rapid socio – economic development.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am aware that this year is special for GCCI being its golden jubilee anniversary and the theme “ Economic Transformation for Gambian Business Empowerment” is quite befitting. Therefore I challenge the local business community to take leadership and ownership so that we can build a prosperous Gambia. Let me take this opportunity to wish the leadership of GCCI and the entire business community a happy anniversary.
Finally, please join me and kindly rise with your glasses as I propose a toast to the Chairman, President and staff of GCCI for their hard work and determination.
Thank you for your kind attention.