GPA gives justifications on the prices of the basic communities
This is to help reduce the cost of doing business in the country.
Demurrage is also charged for uncleared containers beyond the authorized free period and is set at a maximum of D23,000 for 20ft containers and D46,000 for 40ft containers, regardless of the duration of the stay; duration of stay. Nevertheless, derogations are generally granted on demurrage costs in the event of difficulties.
Vehicles are charged D500 for sedans and D750 for Jeeps, trucks and larger units.
Generally, the main causes of the high cost of commodities are attributable to external factors, which are beyond the control of the government.
The results revealed that the continued existence of the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global supply chains, leading to high transportation costs. It is established that, for example, the cost of freight to Banjul has increased by more than 100% since November 2020 from an average cost of 2,750 USD [about D137, 500] per 20ft container at 5,750 USD [about D287, 500].
The pandemic has also reduced the level of global production and caused high commodity prices in the international market. International commodity prices increased from April 2020.
The price of oil, which is a key driver of commodity prices, continued to rise after the mid-2020 slump. The price per barrel of Brent Crude was 42.3 USD [about D2, 115] in November 2020 and it increased to 63.8 USD [about D3, 190] as of April 13, 2021, an increase of 50.83%.
The Gambia, being a net food importer like many other developing countries, continues to feel the impact of the pandemic on the domestic market in the form of price hikes due to these externalities.
It should be noted, however, that despite the external factors on the domestic price of raw materials, some internal factors can aggravate the situation. These include demurrage charges imposed on importers by shipping companies due to port congestion; the reintroduction of the 20% reduction in indicative values by the Gambia Revenue Authority [GRA]; food establishment food safety and quality assurance (FSQA) registration fees; some of the local fees charged by shipping companies; increases in the freight charge levied by the Gambia Maritime Authority, among others.
Despite the fact that most of these actors operate in the maritime domain, it is generally a misconception that it is the Port that is responsible for all increases in the cost of trade transactions.
GPA’s main collaborator in the clearance of goods at the port of Banjul, the GRA operates a self-assessment scheme under the ASYCUDA platform under which importers make their own declaration based on the relevant trade transactions , thus serving to facilitate exchanges.
The GPA has also implemented efficiency improvement measures to meet the increased demand on the port facility due to volume growth over the past 4 years which is the main cause of congestion.
These are interim measures to mitigate the situation, while public tender has started for preliminary engineering design and ESIA for capacity improvements under the 4th port expansion project of Banjul.
The government is according to the necessary support to achieve the project development needs of the port to enhance its potential to sustain and improve productivity and facilitate trade to reduce the cost of doing business.