By Ndey Sowe
Continuing his industrial tour of manufacturing houses across the country, Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof, the Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MoTIE), called on members of the Diaspora and potential investors out there, to come to The Gambia and invest in industrialization in order to stimulate economic growth of the country through trade. Trade Minister Joof made this call recently during his visit to Cashew Gam Company Limited in Brikama Kabafita, in the West Coast Region, accompanied by Lamin Dampha, permanent secretary at the said ministry, and other senior staff of the ministry. The purpose of the Minister’s visit was to enable him get first-hand information about the factory and how government can support the revival and functional operation of the factory.
In his reaction, minister Joof called the company “a local initiative by a local investor,” who he described as “a patriotic Gambian who wants to be part of the journey to develop the country’s economy.”
Despite the challenges he faced, Tradde Minister Joof recognised that Muhammed B. Kabba, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the factory, has refused to give up by staying on course and giving out all his energy to create employment for his fellow Gambians.
“I know the company is capable of bringing in at least 500 people if we maximize the resources and have in place the required machinery,” Minister Joof stated. The Trade Minister informed the gathering that the President of the Republic Mr Adama Barrow, has recently launched the Gambia Employment Policy which promises 150,000 jobs over the next 5 years.
“Thus if Mr Kabba can give us 500, and another fifty Gambians give us 500 jobs each, we will easily get to 150,000 new jobs before the five years elapses and that is what we are looking forward to,” Minister Joof said, and commended the investor for complementing government’s efforts in promoting ‘made in The Gambia’ brand, as well as for promoting employment, industrial and economic development.
Mr Lamin Dampha, permanent secretary at the said ministry, affirmed that cashew production is highly labour-intensive, and said if the factory is in full operation, it can employ nothing less than 300 Gambians.
PS Dampha commended Mr Kabba for his investment and assured him of government’s support and readiness to work with him.
On his part, CEO Muhammed Kabba, thanked the Minister and delegation for taking time to visit his factory and expressed the hope that they will collaborate to strengthen operations in order to create more employment opportunities for fellow Gambians.
Musa Ceesay, an accountant at the factory, said they focus on value, export and terms of trade, and further disclosed that since its establishment, the factory has been able to export cashew to the US market, calling it a very great achievement not only for the factory but for the country.