Hotels, bars and restaurants staff have raised concerns over the closure of Banjul Breweries Company, which they claimed would cause their businesses huge economic losses. 

The country’s sole beverage company ceased operation in April following months of negotiation with Barrow administration over a 75% tax hike introduced in 2019.

Ebrima Sanyang, a hotel worker, told Gambiana that the company’s shutdown will not only have a direct economic impact on hotels but also bars and restaurants.

“What are we doing when our tourism industry cannot even supply us with the beverages and other hard drinks? 

“Currently as I am speaking, The Gambia is the only country in the entire (African) continent that is not manufacturing beverages for her own people,” he said.

He added: “And Gambega which was also making the same beverages has since stopped its manufacturing meaning we will now have our supply of such beverages from Senegal and Guinea Conakry especially beers which are important for the hotel industry.

“How can we allow the closure of Banjul Breweries in the country? And today if you walk to the shops it is very difficult to fine soft drinks such as Vimto, XXL, Fanta, Malta, Cocktail and the beer drinks?”

“Why will the government allow a huge company with over 200 employees to close its operations due to a high tax levy,” he asked.

Binta Colley, a bar and restaurant owner, said: “the resumption of tourist season will be meaningless if hotels including bars are not supplied with beverages and alcoholic drinks because tourists depend on those drinks.”

She advised the government to have another consultative meeting with stakeholders of the company as to maintain its operations in the country.

“I depend on hard drinks such as beer in order to serve my customers, many are tourists. So how do they expect me to have  beverages to serve my customers when those beverages are no longer available. 

“What is the government doing on the employment rate of the country? This is really sad,” she said.

However, last month the National Assembly select committee engaged  company’s management and officials of Gambia Revenue Authority to offer practical solutions about Banjul Breweries but no meaningful outcome was reached.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba 

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *