Thursday, July 24, 2008
A new garments manufacturing company called the Green Industry, was yesterday, officially opened by President Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, at the July 22 Business Park at the Banjul International Airport. The inauguration of the company was part of the activities set aside for the commemoration of the 14th anniversary of the July 22 Revolution.
The company processes and produces an array of garments including uniforms, sportswear, toilet rolls and baby diapers. The products are widely used domestically and are of high export value.
In his inauguration speech, President Jammeh said the project aims at creating employment for youths, some of whom risk their lives across the Atlantic Ocean in search of greener pastures. The president noted that The Gambia should be able to provide the same “greener pasture” to prevent her young people from risking their lives, thus, the creation of the Green Industry.
Reminding the gathering that the objective of the park is to create employment for Gambian youths, Dr Jammeh disclosed that by 2009, another major industry will be inaugurated, which will also create additional employment for youths. However, the president declined to disclose the name of the new industry in the offing.
He told the youths that the Babylon that they yearn for was built by Babylonian youths, saying that “if you want this country to be better than the Babylon you are yearning for, you have to work and change your attitudes.”
“If we want to change this country and eradicate poverty, there is only one way: honesty and hard work. As a government, we will create the facility, but to make the best use of the facility is up to you. We will not force anybody to work in any of these industries,” he noted, adding that it would require the full participation of the youths to lay a solid foundation for a better Gambia.
President Jammeh disclosed that from 1994-to date, his government has spent more than US$20 million to modernise the fisheries facilities, but 99% of those who are benefiting from it are foreigners. He told the youths to make the best use of the Green Industry, if they want to make poverty, backwardness and humiliation history.
He said the Green Industry will encompass all areas that are indispensable to the socio- economic development of The Gambia. He told the gathering that the fishing trawler that was recently inaugurated was also part of the Green Industries.
According to Dr Jammeh, the Green Industry will create more than 2,000 jobs, but he emphasised that there will be no payment without work.
Abdou Kolley, the secretary of state for Trade, Industry and Employment, thanked President Jammeh for another laudable initiative, which is being implemented with the technical assistance of GIPFZA.
SoS Kolley said the July 22nd Business Park, which houses the Green Industry company, is a 160 hectare area of which 8.8 hectares are being developed under the World Bank funded Trade Gateway Project, being implemented by GIPFZA.
“This project has the objective of becoming a competitive export and processing center through the promotion of The Gambia as an investment location, support for manufacturing activity and facilitating investors’ needs, amongst other duties,” he said.
SoS Kolley added that the benefits from the Business Park are a reflection of The Gambia government’s practice of a liberal economy that is working towards its stated goal of becoming the trading hub of the region.
“Apart from the employment opportunities and transfer of skills and technology to Gambians who will be staffed in the Business Park’s industries, the business park also offers The Gambia the opportunity to effectively participate in the multilateral trading system, as well as enjoy unilateral trading preferences such as the duty free exports into the United States of America under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA),’’ he stated.
In his closing remarks, SoS Kolley urged the Green Industry to make full use of the available labour force that the country has to offer, especially those from the various skills centres who already have some technical training.
Richard Shih, the Taiwanese Ambassador to The Gambia, said the opening of the Green Industry is another success story of the Smiling Coast of Africa. Ambassador Shih used the opportunity to thank President Jammeh for his efforts to develop The Gambia to the joy of every Gambian.
The ceremony was chaired by Kebba Njie, the CEO of GIPFZA.
Author: by Lamin M Dibba & Asanatou Bojang