Gambia’s Minister of Trade and Employment, Dr. Isatou Touray has expressed dismay at the leaving of commuters stranded on roadsides due to a boycott by drivers over the lowering of transport fares.
Touray, a renowned activist said the fare reductions were fair and long overdue. She called for the protection of consumers. She has agreed to join in fresh negotiations with the drivers.
The country’s Transport Union on Tuesday called off the boycott and urged drivers to return to work while new talks are being held to put the logjam to rest.
Transport Union leader Momodou Joof said the price of fuel is not the only factor in determining the price of fares. The sudden decrease, he said, would affect their wages and dwindle profits.
Many of the passengers have called the strike by drivers as inconsiderate and support Touray’s call for authorities to protect them.
Fuel prices in The Gambia have been lowered since 2013 but fares continued to remain the same. The government says it is seeking to lower the prices of goods and services in the country.
Dr. Touray hopes that the new talks will lead to a consensus to avoid any actions that may have negative impacts on the economy, which is already struggling to emerge from a shock.
Gambia’s economic outlook has been clouded by uncertainty since the coming of the new government. The economy suffered a hit due to months of political turmoil that followed the country’s presidential elections.
The EU, World Bank, and the IMF have come to the government’s rescue, driving in some $120 million to help jumpstart growth and support the government’s budget to withstand the shock and create jobs.