The Ministry of Transport, Works and Construction has expressed dissatisfaction with the strike by drivers as a result of transport fare reduction, which took effect on 21 August, 2017. A press releasefrom the Ministry described the move by these drivers as unfortunate and indicated that, “to some extent, is affecting service levels in certain routes in the Country.” The government has decided to stick to the price reduction it introduced and advised the drivers to abide by it.
The release went on to say “that the action of these drivers is rather confusing as there was extensive consultation among all the relevant stakeholders, key among which are:
- Ministry of Finance, and Economic Affairs
- Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Employment
- Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority
- The Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Authority
- The Gambia Agriculture Food and Industrial Workers Union
- The Gambia National Transport Control Association
- The Gambia National Transport Union Congress
- The Gambia Trade Union Congress.”
The Ministry claims “that some Union Leaders, who actively took part in the negotiations, are in fact instigating the strike, and encouraging restriction of the movement of other drivers who are willing to serve the public.”
The release concluded thus: “We hereby reaffirm that there is no reason to turn back to the old tariffs. All Transport Unions/ Associations and drivers are advised to abide by new tariffs. Therefore, we would like to call on all the relevant stakeholders especially the transport Unions and drivers to make this fare reduction a reality. The government is committed in ensuring that the beneﬁts of current pump price reductions fully trickle down to the general public.”
Foroyaa will endeavour to talk to the union that opposes the deal, that is, the Gambia Transport, Agriculture, Food and Industrial Workers Union.
Meanwhile the strike by the commercial drivers has caused a lot of disruption in movement; in particular, the movement of petty traders and employees have been very much restrained. Many passengers are calling for a speedy end to the dispute.