The 1970 Gambian constitution prohibited the President from engaging in commercial business except in limited Agriculture in the areas of farming. Even this provision had some serious restrictions. However, when Yahya Jammeh came into power he orchestrated the repeal of that provision which allowed him to engage in all sorts of businesses to compete with the private sector and petty traders. This has led President Jammeh to go from rags to riches essentially crippling the business community except those close to him.
We guess who supported Yahya Jammeh’s illegal businesses while in the National Assembly. It was none other than Mama Kandeh the leader of the GDC… Below is a exert of a speech Mr. Kandeh gave while he was an APRC Member of Parliament. In fact by this article Mama Kandeh’s claims that he was an unruly MP which led to his expulsion from the APRC falls flat on it’s face… See contribution and be the judge for yourself…
Contribution by Mama Kandeh while he was a member of Parliament.
Hon. Mama Kandeh National Assembly Member Jimara: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the floor. First of all, let me say a big thanks to His Excellency the President of the Republic. I also want to thank the Minister of Finance and the Director General of the Revenue Authority.
This bill is a non- controversial bill I only hope my colleagues would give it their fullest support. Today it is the other way round we were the very people who use to cry here about the high rocketing of prices of essential commodities in this country. Many a time we have proven here in this National Assembly to all Gambians that the business community is just wicked. They are just wicked and I would continue to say it until the day we see the price of essential commodities going down. Why are they wicked?
We in the National Assembly have a committee on the trade Employment when the bag of rice was almost D1000. The committee approached the Ministry and the Director General of the GRA sales tax, it was 15% before but reduced to 10% we went there it was reduced again to 5% and then to 0% but still yet prices were not coming down.
The reason for reducing the sales tax for the business community was to enable poor Gambians to have access to their day to day needs.
This did not happen until the rice with subsidies to bring down price of rice. Somebody said to me that our president is doing illegal things for he is not allowed to do business, but he is the only person who can break the cartel.
They have a cartel in this country and you cannot import 12,500 metric tons in this country without a letter of credit from this bank and all the banks are monopolized by business cartels.
Any businessman that came into this country and still yet people expect government to do away with the sales tax, what is the essence.
Madam Speaker the AMRC rescued Gambians some time ago when a bag of rice was costing D900 they brought in at least 6000 tons of rice and sold it for D640; they got their supplies from the same source as the business community.
The business community could not have sold it to D640 imagine the difference.
When the AMRC started you go to Basse you can have a bag of rice for D550 they wanted to bring down the AMRC. They have already made millions and were not afraid of selling a bag of rice for D550 for one or two months.
Sugar is so expensive that which I believe an Average Gambian Cannot afford. Most Homes in the morning now are sort of Sugar when they want to drink porridge; the weight of bread has also been reduced. The Hon. Minister should look into that, there should be a control mechanism in place to regulate the business the business community because definitely they are not helping Gambians.
Mind you we are about to elect a pure businessman in the person of Adama Barrow, we have not seen nothing yet. Instead of selecting a sociologist in the person of Halifa Sallah, we threw the baby in the hands greedy business who will settle for nothing other high profit.
Once a President no one can do anything to him. Just wait