By Momodou Top
The ministry of trade yesterday called a press conference to address mounting confusion in the transit trade involving vehicle owners and the Gambia National Transport Union, GNTU.
Mod Ceesay, the permanent secretary at the ministry said early last month his ministry and the Gambia police received complaints from an agent regarding the conduct of the GNTU.
He added that the agents complained of the introduction of truck queuing or ticketing in Abuko, Bund Road as well as the impounding of vehicles belonging to one Alieu Secka by the GNTU.
Mr Secka condemned that action by the GNTU and explained that subjecting transit goods to queuing will bring about unintended consequences of congestion and delays at the port of Banjul.
“This could attract similar restrictions on Gambian truckers plying international corridors,” he warned.
He added that such action will erode the competitiveness of The Gambia’s port and make the destination expensive for vessel berthing.
Mr. Ceesay accordingly warned the GNTU to desist from seizing and impounding vehicles by themselves and urged them to report complaints to the police or law enforcement officers.
He said the Transport Union and operators must understand that there are other stakeholders in the value chain, principally Government, GPA, drivers, vehicle owners, clearing agents among others whose interest must also be safeguarded.
He assured that legislative and regulatory framework is being put in place defining clearly the formation and governance of union, but until then the status quo should be maintained.
He reminded them of the existing decision that “transit goods under WTO and ECOWAS Conventions should not be subjected to local or national controls and regulations.”