The Triple X Rise On Prices Of Residential Permits Sores Non Gambians, GID Unmoved
Nigerian, Sierra Leonean and many other West African nationals living in The Gambia have expressed discontent over the recent increase on payment of residential permit. The disgruntled foreign nationals believe that the increment was discriminatorily applied and beyond any reasonable basis.
It all started after many foreign nationals were suddenly told upon renewing their residential documents that the fees have increased dramatically. Where Senegalese nationals were paying D200, the price has now escalated to D700. Nigerian, Sierra Leonean, Ghanaians, Mauritanians nationals who were paying D1, 000 will now pay 1950. European residents who were paying D2500 will now settle for D4, 800 before being issued a permit.
Aminata Camara, a sierra Leonean national who runs a unisex salon said the sudden increase on the residential permit is too high for people like her because they depend on their business entirely to survive. “I have lived here for 14 years, and it was never this expensive.” Why make it too expensive now?” She asked. Aminata believes that the Immigration Department ought to reconsider the decision and treat West African nationals living in The Gambia fairly. As according to her, the increment on permits is disproportionate compared to The Gambia national ID card, also increased from D200 to D450.
The Public relations officer of The Gambia Immigration Department Mamanding Dibba told Peter Gomez, on his radio’s morning show “Coffee time” that all ECOWAS Citizens pay the same amount of D1, 950 as residential permit except The Senegalese, Guinea Bissau and Ivorian nationals who have the payment only lowered. “These three countries were exempted by the former administration”, according to Mamanding Dibba.
“During the former administration the residential permit was DI, 500 for ECOWAS Citizens. We have now migrated from manual to biometric documentation. The production for Biometric is very expensive compared to the manual. So, this is the main reason why there is an increment in the payment of residential permits”, PRO Mamanding Dibba said.
On purposely targeting foreign nationals for documentation, the Immigration spokesman said said his office (Immigration department) does not encourage ethnic profiling but rather treat Gambians and Non-Gambians the same. “We don’t do ethnic profiling. There has not been any serious complain that we are targeting a particular section of the community. It is just a rumor, so we have to treat it as one”, Mamading Dibba said.
With the ministry of Finance in a spree of all tax increase and collect everywhere, chances are quasi nil that Adama Barrow’s government reduces the tariffs on residential permits for the foreign nationals established in The Gambia.