By Omar Bah
Dawda Kawsu Jawara, the National Assembly Member for Upper Fulladu West, has told The Standard that the country’s economy could collapse if the Barrow-administration continues to take uninformed policy decisions on taxation.
The government has slammed a 75% tax hike on certain beverages including alcohol.
The country’s main drinks manufacturer, Banjul Breweries, said the tax hikes if not rescinded, will lead to the closure of the company. Jawara concurred saying it “sends a very bad signal to prospective investors and negative impacts on the country’s economic”.
Jawara said the business environment under the Barrow administration is worse off than in 2009 under Jammeh when he returned home and established his business.
“Investors looking for secure homes for their businesses will be wary of coming to The Gambia and if that happens we will be in big trouble. The consequences will be so dire, because when people don’t have food to eat, they will be disgruntled which could lead to unrest. Barrow should be aware,” he added.
He said The Gambia government’s actions are “killing the country’s own economy” while supporting foreign economies.
He warned the government to ensure Banjul Breweries does not cease operation, saying it pays a staggering D130 million in taxes annually.
“They must not get into the State House and shut all other doors for Gambians,” he admonished.
He argued that if Banjul Breweries were to shut down, companies like Nawec, “will be seriously affected”, as it pays D1.3 million for electricity to Nawec yearly.
He called on the government to explain to Gambians why it “suddenly changed” its stance on cutting taxes to encourage business. “It is disappointing that other countries are bringing down their taxes while The Gambia is increasing its taxes,” he added.
In a related development, The Standard has learnt that the government has opened negotiations with Banjul Breweries.