By Omar Bah
The chief executive officer of Q-Group Company, Muhammed Jah, yesterday suggested the need for a local content private bill to help Gambians have full monopoly of the country’s business industry.
The major objective of the content bill, he said, is to maximise value-addition and job creation through the use of local expertise, goods and services, businesses, and financing in all undertakings where public funds are used.
“I told the president during the launching of the new GTSC buses that it is high time we passed a Local Contents Bill because every country has it now. In some countries you cannot even do business if the indigenous people don’t own 50 percent of the business,” Jah said at the GCCI Kerr Jula competition launching.
He added: “I have discussed this with the Majority Leader of the National Assembly and he said they want somebody to sponsor the private bill so that they can pass it. I have assured him that whatever it takes we are going to fund it to ensure it is passed.
“We are going to work with the National Assembly, GCCI and the Ministry of Trade to make this happen. This is not for Muhammed Jah but for the Gambian people – we are just trying to patronise the people. It is high time that Gambians have full monopoly of the country’s market,” he said.
He said in countries like Dubai, a foreigner cannot even have a work permit if the person is not under somebody. “So, if you look at their policy it is their indigenous people first,” he said.
“All we need is to have strong love for our country and believe that we can make it. It is not going to be easy but if you believe in your vision you are going to make it. It is important for us to also have values,” he said.
Jah said Q-Group is growing because of its values and norms. “This is why you don’t see us doing gambling at QCell because that is not part of our values. So, for us we appreciate investing in people whom we believe have what it takes to be great leaders tomorrow,” he said.
Commenting on the significance of such a bill, former Secretary General Momodou Sabally, said: “It can promote local businesses and help expand the domestic economy in a way that will improve welfare for locals. Given the small size of our economy local businesses could be put to disadvantage if left to themselves to compete with stronger companies coming from abroad with broader and better resource bases for investment and marketing.”
However, Sabally argued that on the other side, such protectionist policies may lead to laziness on the part of local business owners.
“Also, there could be problems of capacity for local businesses to meet the demands of the customers. A ban on import of eggs and onions for instance in favour of domestic production concerns led to serious shortages and thereby worsened the welfare of consumers,” Sabally told The Standard.
Read the details of GCCI launching on Monday