It is over a month and half now since the Gambia-Senegal border was closed to all trucks and other commercial vehicles, causing disruption in trade between the two countries, APA learns here Tuesday
Many people in both countries have expressed disquiet over the mute attitude adopted by the leadership of the two countries over the issue, which is affecting business and the livelihood of people on both sides of the border,.
The Gambia ï¿½ Senegal border crossings at Amdalaye ï¿½ Karang and Kerr Ayip-Kerr Ali were on the 17 and 18 of February 2016 closed to all vehicles from either side by the Senegalese road transport union officials in reaction to the reported introduction of a new tariff imposed by the Gambia on all Senegalese registered trucks entering the country.
The Senegalese transport owners and their representatives said they were protesting against the unilateral introduction of the new tariff by the Gambian authorities, pegging it at 400, 000 CFA francs per truck, in addition to the CFA 1000 francs being charged per tonne which they have been paying at the ferry crossings. This the truckers describe as ï¿½exorbitant and unacceptableï¿½.
Since the closure of the boarder, it has been reported that the transport unions of the two countries have been holding indoor meetings but it is yet to yield dividends, and the two governments remain mute over the issue.
Speaking to APA at the Kerr Ayip-Kerr Ali crossing, Modou Ndiaye a Senegalese truck driver described the situation as bad, which he said is not favorable to both Gambians and Senegalese. He said the two countriesï¿½ leadership should act through their transport unions to resolve the matter amicable at the shortest time possible.
Ndiaye further added that the Senegalese authorities think they have find a solution to the problem by advising their drivers to use the Tamba Counda route to and from the Casamance, but Ndiaye says that is far from being a solution, as drivers like him have their business links in the Gambia and have not been allowed to enter the country. ï¿½We only have one option, which is by off-loading the goods we carry and for horse-carts to transfer to them to the other end,ï¿½ he added.
Mamadou Diallo, a Senegalese citizen who recently travelled to the Gambia for a burial urged both President Macky Sall and his Gambian counterpart Yahya Jammeh to act, describing the current situation as the worst he ever witnessed between the two neighbouring countries.
For Alhagie Sarge, a Gambian businessman, who often buys goods from Senegal, the boarder closure is doing no good to either of the two countries. ï¿½I donï¿½t understand why the two leaders of our countries should let this drag on for this long. Solving this impasse is an obligation they owe to their citizens,ï¿½ he said.
Sarge further said most of the goods he imports from Senegal to the Gambia are perishable, and the longer it takes for him to reach his destination, the goods will deteriorate.
Sarjo Jallow a business wholesaler and retailer said the closure has a huge impact on the availability of such commodities like sugar, rice, oil, cement, iron rods and others and all the two citizens of the two countries are being affected directly or indirectly.
The governments should come to the rescue of their citizens as soon as possible, he concluded.
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