By Mariatou Ngum
The Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment (MoTIE) Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof on Monday, January 16th commenced a five-day familiarisation tour of industries, agencies and departments under his purview, as well as border posts of Amdalai, Farafenni and Giboro.
Accompanied by senior staff of his ministry, the Minister’s first port of call was at Salam Cement Factory along the Banjul-Serrekunda Highway.
Speaking to the press shortly after a conducted tour of the factory, Hon. Joof stated that his Ministry has considered synchronising the industrialisation process with the country’s development. “We did not just come here to look for errors or problems. We wanted to come in and share our expertise and experience with you to help a very genuine Gambian who has brought all he got and invested in this country,” he stated. He pointed out that if one invests in industrialisation in this country, they are enabling the economy to flow.
Having expressed satisfaction with the level of investment, production and progress made by the factory, coupled with the expansion project, the minister observed that Salam Cement and Steel factory is in a position to fill the domestic market with their product; thus urged them to make that their number one target.
He expressed optimism that the factory has the possibility to target markets beyond the borders within framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
“I have collected some information regarding challenges; obviously they come along with every progress. Therefore, we will go back as Government to find ways to ameliorate some of these challenges in order to ease the burden on the company and enable them increase employment and production. So, am really fascinated by what I saw and I would like to thank Mr Sillah for this venture,” he stated.
For his part, Mr. Muhammed Sillah, the proprietor of Salam Cement said that they produce steel pipes, tubes and steel rods and cement in the country – a ‘made in Gambia’ brand. Producing a cement, he added, is a very challenging work but he assured that they produce quality cement.