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Importers bemoan ‘500%’ duty increase on cement from Senegal via land

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The Gambia Association of Cement Importers has issued a statement claiming that the Gambia government has upped the import duties on cement from Senegal through land.

The statement reads, in part: “We are reaching out to Gambians to shed light on a concerning policy that threatens to hamper purchasing power and impede economic growth. As small business owners deeply invested in the nation’s welfare and staunch advocates for The Gambia and her people, we approach this issue from multiple perspectives.

Today, the Gambian government has introduced a significant policy shift: a staggering 500% increase in import duties on cement imported via road networks from Senegal, which accounts for a significant share of the cement in The Gambia. This move seemingly favors cement importation via vessels, a domain predominantly controlled by three bagging operators: Jah Oil, Salam, and Gacem, who employ a fraction of the workforce of the small-scale importers. The import duty has skyrocketed from D30 per bag to an exorbitant D180.

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This decision raises critical questions: How can such a drastic hike in import duties be justified, especially when the current price of cement stands at D375? The only conclusion is that the government intends to band the importation of Senegalese cement, an ECOWAS member state, for the benefit of three bagging operators and at the detriment of its citizens. The implications of this policy on businesses, consumers, and overall economic health demand thorough consideration and urgent action.”

The full press release will be published in our subsequent editions.

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