In a country where the private sector’s power is stifled by government’s monopoly, any move to break this barrier would be warmly welcome; thus the reason for a recent conclave dubbed ‘Prospects and Opportunities of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in The Gambia’.

Held under the auspice of The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in collaboration with the Gambia Import and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), the interface forum was part of the continuous advocacy – as officials believe that public-private partnership is one of the most credible alternatives to further development.

But with many businessmen fleeing the country for fear of expropriation; and a recent capital flight by one of the country’s 13 banks, the room for the private sector to breath is tight, thus literally speaks Almami Fanding Taal, chief executive officer (CEO) of GCCI. “The discussion on development and development assistance has for a long time been dominated by ideologies in a way hijacked by the public sector.”

He stressed the need for smart solution and development, noting that PPP has the advantage for government in the areas of resource mobilisation, access to expert skills, increased efficiency, and would also ease the burden on public budgets, and improve delivery of services, among others.

Taal, who was a former judge at the country’s high court, said it include access to markets, job creation, and potential commercial gain, among others.

He also stated the need to advocate for PPP until when they have a framework in place. “Of course having the framework or the law in place doesn’t mean all sectors will be successful, but would start the process where serious business leaders will consider service that are well suited for the public,” he further remarked, adding that PPP is not a new word, but that they want a framework that will work for everyone.

Commenting on the notion held by many that the private sector only wants to make profit, the GCCI CEO said the private sector wants to give the people value for their money. He then called for a well-strengthened partnership between the two sectors for mutual benefit and for national development.

In his welcoming remarks, Muhammad M. Jagana, president of GCCI, described the forum as important and timely, while thanking all those who attended the forum.

For his part, Mod K. Ceesay, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, thanked GCCI for organising the forum, while reiterating government’s commitment and recognition of the need for PPP, something he said is an option for addressing financial problems.

He said the government cannot do it alone, and therefore called for partnership with the private sector in the attainment of government’s blueprints.

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