By Binta Senghore
Jah Oil company has informed the public that its cement factory will lay off over 100 youth currently employed at the factory. The Production Manager of the company, Mr Yusupha Ceesay, has cited high taxes levied on them by The Gambia government, noting that the tax increase has made it very difficult to continue the production of cement in The Gambia.
According to Mr Ceesay, the company has been left with no option but to import cement from Senegal, hence the need to make dozens of youth redundant.
Speaking about the consequences of unemployment, Mr Ceesay further noted that the rate of unemployment is a threat to our national peace and security, adding that this is manifested in the current increase in crime in the country, ranging from armed robbery, theft, drug and substance abuse and trafficking. Mr Ceesay lamented that this increase in crime has even led to loss of life in some cases.
Mr Ceesay further expressed his frustration with the effect the bilateral economic agreement between The Gambia and Senegal has on Gambian businesses operating between the two countries, adding that the Gambia government should seek to revisit the said agreement in order to alleviate the difficulty Gambian businesses face.
“Finally I challenge the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports to work with the relevant authorities to look in the plights of our youth if we are in anyway serious about retention of our youth in this country. All our production companies that are providing employment to citizens are closing their companies as a result of unfavorable business environment in the country and it needs urgent attention,” Mr Ceesay said.