By Alkali Cham
Following high demand on members of the National Assembly about the high rocketing price of basic and essential commodities, the Select committee on Trade called an meeting, and sermon the Trade minister to answer some pertinent questions; but unfortunately both the Minister and his Permanent Secretary were out of the country. The absence of the two had some poor impact on the outcome of the consultations.
The Daily News spoke to the member of the National Assembly for Sandu constituency Honourable Muhammed Mahenera who doubles as the Chairperson for the National Assembly Select committee on trade shared his committee’s stance on the most talked about matters of price hike which rocked various markets in the Gambia. Some economic analysis argued that price hike could be influenced by high demand as well as huge levy that are placed on businesses by authorities.
According to Honourable Mahenera, they are concerned citizens and the people’s representative who are equally worried about the issues of the price surge affecting the markets and has negative impact on the livelihood of our people; he added that, due to the public outrage on this matter, it prompted them as members of the parliament to hold a meeting in the Assembly chambers to find a solution, but unfortunately the absence of the Minister of Trade and his Permanent secretary who were both out of the country hampers the development to some extent.
Despite the absence of the two key persons he insisted that the meeting will proceed with the presence of other relevant stakeholders , according to him this is treated as top priority by his committee which attracts their presence to find a solution to this matter despite their leave.
When asked about the belief of some critics, that the Trades committee is inactive about remedying the price hike, he refuted this, by stating that, his team had toured the country up to the border villages to assess the impact of the price hike in various markets in the country, the outcome of which would determine their approach to outlined solution in order to advise the ministry of Trade appropriately on the subject. He revealed that, when his committee approached the Ministry on the matter their respond is always that it’s a liberal market which he stated that, they as a committee on trade can’t go beyond giving advice.
Hon Mahanera warn the Ministry of Trade to come up with a price tag for the basic commodities, according to him some countries in the sub region have done this best practice and it worked out will for them which Gambia could imitate as a best practice.
The Chairperson stated that, they as people representative are mandated to make laws but the implementation of those laws entirely depends on the ministries which include the Ministry of the Trade. He added that, if the cost of the bag of rice is peg at D1000, then he as a member of the parliament is not exempted from this, he added that, its everyone’s concern to address this problem collectively. He added that, one major factor which cripples the performance of the sector is lack of capacity to manage the core functions of the ministry ,he added that, you can’t employ a person just for the purpose of employing the person but the person needs to deliver to improve the sector . He added that, members of the parliament make very good laws but the implementation which is the responsibility of the executives remains a big challenge.
(if we make good laws in the parliament, we expect the executives to implement them and later asses it impact on the life and live hood to measure its efficacy but if the cabinet cannot do this what is the essence of us sitting here crafting laws which are not going to be implemented )He queried.
He further challenged the executives to action the legislative instruments or else they become a death law. He cautioned.
Absence of Trade Minister and PS Affects NAM’s Efforts on Prices
By Alkali Cham