Africa-Press – Gambia. Mr President, it has come to our knowledge that the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCCA) plans to increase passenger Service Charge (PSC), Security Charges and introduce a Passenger Safety Levy effective May 1, 2023.
The PSC has been increased from £10 (D750) to £15 (D1.125) and Security Charges from £1.5 (D112.50) to $25(D1500) per departing passengers and arriving passengers.
Passenger Safety Levy, which is newly introduced, is 5US dollars (D300).
The cumulative total of the proposal amounts to $15 (D900) and £3.5 (D162.50).
Mr President, since our ears are on the ground as the Fourth Estate, we would like to inform you that these new charges have roused mixed feelings from the public.
Mr President, The Gambia is a tourist destination and its economy depends largely on tourism, which is the second highest earner of foreign exchange after groundnut.
Every year, more than 200,000 tourists visit The Gambia. The country also is a business hub in the sub-region, and therefore these measures at the airport will gravely affect the national economy and generally the populace of The Gambia.
These measures may also affect the Gambia’s high competitiveness in the tourism industry across West Africa and beyond.
At this pointing in time, all nations are struggling to build their economies and The Gambia government should be thinking of initiating good incentives that would attract tourists and other visitors across the globe.
Mr President, while we recognise the fact that the previous charges have been there for over three decades, it is advisable to include those charges in the air tickets instead of making such sweeping increments.
Mr. President, it is also good to note that the new charges may lead to people going en route Senegal and not coming directly through Banjul International Airport.
Mr President, the transport fares need to be regularised once and for all. What is happening at Westfield Junction and other garages in the country should not be tolerated. It is total exploitation of the population.
The Government and the Transport Union have agreed on some issues which led to increment of fares but the population is still suffering.
Every Jack and Jill driver has their own transport fare scheme, which is unacceptable.
Mr President, can you imagine taxis and seven passengers charging D100 for Brikama direct and D50 flat for directly to Lamin; and not picking passengers who are dropping on the way along the same route?!
This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed soonest.
We are yet to see the destination stickers on the vehicles as agreed.
Drivers parking wrongly on the high way should also be dealt with.
The Ministry of Transport has to work with the traffic police and deploy as much traffic officers to start arresting and charging culprits for the offence committed.
Mr President, your Government should invest more and empower the Gambia Transport Service Company to be able to meet the challenges of the commuters in urban, rural and regional areas.
This is the best time to rehabilitate the feeder roads since the rainy season is over. This will help reduce traffic jams.
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