23 February 2016 – In 2014, The Gambia gained over 3 billion dalasi from the re-export trade. The re-export trade is a major foreign exchange earner for the Gambia which has contributed a great deal to the stability of the local currency.
Border closures would undermine the movement of goods and services and force the volume of the re-export trade to depreciate thus impacting on both the importation of goods and the customs revenue derived from them as well as lower foreign exchange earnings.
This is likely to impact on the profits of businesses, many of which are poised to pay their taxes. This is not a time for trade war.
On the other hand, increase of transport cost or tariffs on transportation of goods would automatically add to inflation on prices of goods transported.
In that sense, if the tariffs or cost of transportation are prohibitive, the profitability of businesses could be put into jeopardy and many of them would collapse because of prohibitive prices. So in that sense, neither tariff barrier nor border closures would serve the interest of neighbouring countries which have signed protocols geared toward promoting the free movement of goods and services.
The Gambia and Senegal are destined by geo-political realities to forge international treaties or agreements which will not hinder each other’s citizens from engaging in fruitful entreprises to promote their general welfare.
The two governments should engage in mutual consultation before any tariffs are imposed or increased and borders closed.
Trade war is not the answer. It only hastens economic doomsday.