By MUHAMMED S. BAH
National Assembly Member (NAM) for Basse, Hon. Muhammed Magasey, in his contributions during the adjournment debate at the National Assembly on Thursday 7 April, 2016, said the Gambia-Senegal border closure is negatively impacting on businesses in both countries but that the Gambia is most affected.
Hon. Magasey raised his concern over the closure of the borders and calls for the relevant authorities of the two countries to urgently consider re-opening them.
He said other countries can come to Senegal without passing through the Gambia but for these countries to come to the Gambia, they must have to pass through Senegal.
“How can the two leaders just decide to close the border without considering their people?” asked the Basse NAM.
He said the two governments have to resolve this problem for the benefit of the people in their countries.
The Basse NAM dwelling on other issues also underscored the importance of national languages to be used as a medium of communication in National Assembly proceedings.
Hon. Netty Baldeh, NAM for Tumana, said what is happening is not a border closure but rather a tariff issue.
“Gambia should not be blamed on the issue of the border closure but rather the Senegalese government should be blamed,” he charged.
The Tumana NAM said the Gambia is a sovereign state and that its methods of raising revenue should not be dictated by any country.
He said it is wrong to call it a border closure as people are free to move about and that is only vehicles that are not allowed to cross the borders.
Hon. Baldeh said the payment of 400, 000 fCFA for the trucks should not be a problem to anyone because it is the Gambia which should dictate how it raises its revenues.
Responding to the Basse NAM’s concerns regarding the use of national languages in the National Assembly, the Tumana NAM said this is not easy to do unless it starts from the grassroots level, adding that section 105 of the constitution states that “people must be trained on how to speak and write on our local languages”.