By Mustapha Jallow
Foroyaa received information that the Senegalese road transport unions have yesterday morning, 16 February, closed the Gambia – Senegal border at Amdalaye and Karang for all vehicles from either side, in response to the reported introduction of a new tariff imposed by the Gambia on all Senegalese registered trucks entering the country.
It was earlier reported that the unions were protesting against this new tariff imposed by the Gambian Customs and which they said obliges every truck to pay FCFA 400, 000 (which is more than D26, 000) beside s the FCFA1000 they have been paying for every tone of goods carried by their vehicles. Some of the leaders, when contacted on phone, told Foroyaa that this was a unilateral decision by the Gambian authorities as they were not consulted and that it is unacceptable.
However, Mr. Ousman Jobarteh, the GPA Deputy Managing Director, confirmed to this medium that the ferry tariff has not been increased.
In a telephone interview yesterday with Alassane Ndoye, the secretary general of the road transport union in Senegal, he confirmed the closure of the Amdalai/Karang border crossing point by the unions. When asked the reason for this move, he said it is as a result of the tariff increase. He said the unions and truckers deem this as an exorbitant charge which is unaffordable and unacceptable.
“As a result, we have decided to stop the entry and exit of all vehicles from Senegal. This has started with Karang and tomorrow (today) we will be meeting with the other stakeholders at the Kerr Ayip/Farafenni route and after which all the border entry points will be closed for commercial vehicles,” said the road transport leader.
The road transport union secretary general said they have asked all the truck drivers not to enter the Gambia but take the Tambacounda route until the matter is resolved with the Gambian authorities.
Foroyaa will contact the Customs on the issue of this new tariff.