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Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Cement importers react to temporary removal of blockage

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By Amadou Jadama

Following announcement by government of a temporary release of cement trucks at the border, the Cement Importers and Traders Association convened a press conference on Sunday to say that the measure is not enough as there is a whole backlog of cement already ordered and yet to come from Senegal. They said government should have widely consulted stakeholders on any policy it intends to implement in the industry.

Sheikh Cham, a member of the association, said government needs to understand that the ‘so-called’ cement factories it is trying to defend in the name of protecting home industries cannot supply the quantity needed in the country at all times.

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“If, it is true that they can flood the market with enough cement, then why would anyone with good sense venture into importing cement from Senegal if there is no market here for it?” he said.

The association urged the government to be fair with all Gambians and ‘stop favoring’ one business over others. “The cement importers bring massive income for government in terms of taxes, toll fees at the Senegambia Bridge among others,” he said.

On the allegation that most of the importers are foreigners, Mr Cham said that is false. ”We have more than a thousand members and not a single one is a foreigner. But in any case, are foreigners not allowed to do business here?” he asked.

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