By Nelson Manneh
The Government of the Gambia through the Ministry of Information has issued a press release on Friday 5th November 2021, indicating that the Gambia and Sierra Leone have mutually agreed to waive residential permits for their nationals.
The release said April’s visit to the Republic of Sierra Leone by President Adama Barrow has yielded benefits; that the President had very fruitful meetings with the Gambian community in Sierra Leone where various issues affecting communal life were discussed and most prominent was the payment of alien residence permits which according to the Gambian community, was very expensive for poor them. They appealed to President Barrow to engage his Sierra Leonean counterpart, President Maada Bio, to come to mutually beneficial solutions to ease the financial burden affecting citizens of both countries.
The press release further indicated that President Barrow who values the wellbeing of Gambians everywhere, immediately engaged President Bio particularly, in recognition of the two countries’ longstanding historic ties; that subsequently, both countries agreed to reciprocally waive residential permits for their respective citizens staying in either country; that the modalities of this new arrangement are captured in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the republics Sierra Leone and the Gambia, in Freetown, on the 28th day of October 2021.
“Gambia’s Interior Minister Yankuba N. Sonko, singed the MoU on behalf of the Gambia Government while David Maurice Panda-Noah, Sierra Leonean Minister of Internal Affairs, signed on behalf of his Government,” the release stated; that during the MOU signing ceremony, both Ministers echoed the strong historical and cultural ties that exist between The Gambia and Sierra Leone, and hailed this mutually-beneficial agreement as a significant step in consolidating the fraternal ties between the two sister countries.