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Trade, lands ministers conduct site visit to industrial areas in Banjul

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By Mariatou Ngum

The Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Hon. Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof; and the Minister overseeing the Ministry of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs, Hon. Baboucarr Bouy, on Monday, August 14, 2023 visited Bund Road and Kamaloo in Banjul to inspect the designated industrial areas.

The ministers were accompanied by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Lands, Mrs Saffie Sankareh-Farage; the Chief Executive Officer of GiEPA; and other staff of the Ministry of Lands and GiEPA.

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The authorities were out to check the lands that have been allocated for industrial purposes and whether they are being used for the purposes of which they have been allocated. They have also been assessing areas that are shrouded with conflicts and dispute.

Speaking after the conducted tour of the sites, Minister Joof affirmed that their outing was to assess what has been allocated, to whom and what has been done to the available land.

He said they have also assessed the possibilities of involving the Ministry of Trade in future land allocations “to ensure that there is that rationalisation of location proximity and zoning of industries to avoid conflicts”.

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He assured that the team will visit all the designated industrial areas as his Ministry is responsible for industries. He added that industries are a whole ballgame that requires organising in a certain way to help manufacturing and productions of all sorts.

“The current minister overseeing the Ministry of Lands is listening to our complaints and that is why we are here together to see what is happening, so that future corrections will factor the industrial lenses in the allocation of lands, to avoid conflicts”.

For his part, Minister Bouy acknowledged that land across the country is associated with so many problems. He revealed that as a start they will be looking at the inventory of the lands allocated and to see whether the purpose for which they are allocated is being achieved.

PS Sankareh-Farage described their visit as a fact-finding mission against some of the planning instruments that they have in order to see if they were in compliance.

She however pointed out that they are starting with the industrial zones but that it is not only the industrial areas that are fraught with problems and conflicts. She therefore assured that they would eventually be looking at other allocated areas with a view to addressing some of the challenges of encroachment and non-compliance of land use. She observed that one of the major problems they are faced with is incompatible land use within a designated area.

As a ministry, the PS noted, they are taking this activity holistically using it as an opportunity to remedy some of those challenges that they have as an institution.

Madam Sankareh-Farage disclosed that the ministry is also developing a land policy, which she believes would be a comprehensive document addressing some of these challenges that are not even factored by the law. This, she indicated, will give them a unique opportunity to review their legislation and bring them in line with international standards. “More importantly, it is going to open the door for digitisation, to address all of these very immediate challenges,” she stated.

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