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Putting Gambia Back To Sanity, Stability And Development

We yearn for a Gambia where Everyone regardless of Tribe, Religion, Gender, Social Status and Upbringing is respected and treated with human dignity and equality they deserve.

A Gambia where people are given the opportunity to decide their destiny, fate and future withouthe coercion or duress.

A Gambia free from arbitrary arrest, detention without trial, torture and enforced disappearances. A country where no one is subjected to state sponsored late night abductions.

A Gambia where religious leaders from all denominations are respected and not threatened, abducted, tortured and dehumanized for speaking the truth or disagreeing with the leadership.

A Gambia where our womenfolk are respected, treated with dignity and not subjected to unlawful arrest, detention, torture and sexual and gender base violence.

A country where the security forces are seen as brother protectors of law and order instead of oppressors and thugs.

A Gambia where the laws are respected by everyone including the President and that courts are not only independent and impartial but also free from foreign mercenary judges.

A Gambia where everyone is given equal opportunity to achieve their potentials in a fair and equitable way.

A Gambian where the content of one’s character matters.

A Gambia where the President neither competes with investors nor enslaves civil servants.

A Gambia that returns to the international community and respected institutions such as the Commonwealth and the ICC.

Most importantly, we want a Gambia where people are not abused, threatened with being buried 6 or 9 feet deep underground or ill-treated by their leader.

A Gambia where every citizen – wherever they find themselves – are proud of being a Gambian.

A Gambia of hope where Children first pursue their dreams at home instead of embarking on the hazardous Mediterranean Sea journey, in search of greener pastures abroad.

A Gambia where the government concentrates on key areas that quickly put the people and nation return to the era of normalcy. The development of the following sectors will put the country on the Road to Success:

1.      Agriculture and farming
2.      Job Creation
3.      Healthcare
4.      Fisheries
5.      Horticulture
6.      Tourism
7.      Improved economy
8.      trade
9.      Governance
10.    Foreign policy

Agriculture and farming

i.      Promote groundnut farming, marketing, exportation and processing.
ii.     Revise and Implement the already studied Groundnut Sector Revitalization plan.
iii.    Establish Agric bank to facilitate access to loan for Agric inputs like fertilizer and seeds as well as hire labor-saving devices and process harvested products.
iv.     Reintroduce agricultural extension services on some cost-recovery basis.
v.      Review all currently running externally funded agricultural projects.
vi.     Promote the cultivation of rice and other subsistence grains.
vii.    Promote small-scale irrigation through a state funded commercial outfit.
viii.   Promote the introduction and practice of genuine famers’ cooperatives.
ix.     Promote the cultivation of cashew nuts.
x.      Promote and welcome foreign commercial investment in export oriented farming.
xi.     Dismantle all the presidential farming racketeering.
xii.    Consider Vision 2016 an abandoned failure and irrelevant.

2.     Job creation to reduce unemployment

i.      Register of all unemployed youths, identify their skills and talents before merging them with fitting job opportunities.

ii.     Promote Self-Employment with Business Advice, Training and Start-up Loans.

iii.    On the job training programs. Apprenticeships and vocational training.

iv.     Use of more effective enterprise promotion and development projects.

v.      Use of indigenization campaigns

vi.     Use of support for SME through business advisory services, and micro-finance loans.

vii.    Employment, cooperative and self-employment programs in areas like poultry, export of fish, sea food and ethnic food for Diaspora Gambians; fisheries, poultry, animal husbandry, trade and diverse service delivery.

viii.    State initiated employment programs in areas like poultry, animal husbandry, poultry, piggery, bee-keeping.

viiii (1) the reduction of taxes to encourage local entrepreneurship and attract foreign direct investments. Tax cuts are always a good idea to create competitive business environment and to avoid the risk of capital flight; (2) investing in the energy sector to provide a steady and consistent energy supply for factories and promote employment and economic growth. Without energy, there will be no factories or only small scale factories of production which will limit their ability to employment more people.

3.   Healthcare

1.  Reinvest and rehabilitate the primary health care system.

  1. Strengthen, rehabilitate and refurbish the existing hospitals and health centers.

  2. Introduce state-owned commercially run chain of drug stores, clinics and health facilities to reduce the prominence of the marriage of business and commerce in the health care delivery system.

  3. Do away with the idea of any presidential HIVAIDS treatment and review bilateral and health and medical agreements with foreign governments like Cuba. Egypt, Nigeria, U.K. or Senegal.

  4. Abolish Presidential Treatment Program reconcile with the Global Fund HIV/AIDS Treatment Program.

4.      Fisheries

1.      The Gambia’s waters, though lying on a continental shelf and therefore rich with fisheries resources, have been seriously overfished under the past several decades. Preserving the country’s fisheries resources should be a cardinal principle of all prudent fishery policies through regulation, monitoring and anti-poaching measures.

2.      Introduce fisheries into the school curriculum,

3.      Promote riverine fishing and aquaculture as alternatives to sea-fishing.

4.      Promote greater native Gambian presence in the fisheries sector to increase employment.

5.      Introduce aggressive anti-poaching measures in industrial fishing and best practices in the artisanal sector.

6.      Combat over-profiteering in the trade of fishing gears and implements.

7.      Facilitate access and affordability of fish to rural folk for food security.

8.      Introduce more transparent and accountable licensing system for trawlers.

9.      Support Gambians engaged in the export of smoked fish to Europe, North America and to other Diaspora Gambian communities.

5.      Horticulture

1.      Gardening, mostly in communal gardens, is an important source of off-farm income for most rural women but has been one of the most neglected sector of the economy and this must be encouraged to develop.

2.      Most of the gardens need help with proper fencing, wells and boreholes for watering beds, access to affordable inputs, expert and extension services, marketing, etc and these needs to be addressed urgently.

3.      Gardens can create jobs, boost exports, provide increased food security and reduce imports if aided with proper policies.

4.      Consider making Horticulture a separate Ministry and not merely a department or a Unit of the ministry of Agriculture.

5.       Encourage foreign investment in the Agriculture and Horticultural sector in the urban and peri-urban areas and the women communal gardens empowered.

6.      A specialized Unit under the new Horticultural Ministry should be wholly dedicated to the promotion of the export and processing of horticultural products.

7.      New ventures will be undertaken in cashew plantation and processing and floriculture.

8.      Invest More in the Cultivation of Green Leaves like Sweet Potato, Cassava, Krengkreng, etc. for Export to the Swelling African Diaspora Market, The Gambia so Close to Europe.

6.    Tourism

1.      The tourism sector has for four decades been a source of government revenue in providing foreign currency earnings and employment for Gambia but it has been hit by arrested development caused by bad government policies, incapacity to renew and rebrand Gambian tourism which has become an old moribund product and the international negative publicity caused by the atrocities of the Jammeh autocracy.

2.      Gambian tourism has long been beach-based, relying on the sunny glow of the northern hemispheric winter months of November to March. But because the Gambia is just a river valley, we will give tourism a more ecological and river-oriented edge.

3.      The Gambia’s tourism industry started decades before even the smaller neighboring state of the Cape Verde Islands got her political independence and long before it started its tourism industry. True the Cape Verde Islands is built on a beautiful archipelago blessed with fine sandy beaches and fantastic weather conditions. But it lacks the genuine continental cultural flare, humanism and friendliness of Africa’s people as a competitive advantage. While Cape Verde several years ago was able to hit the 500 000 arrival mark, the Gambia is yet able to reach the 250 000 annual rate arrival. We shouldl target an arrival rate of 500 000 by the year 2025.

4.      We shouldl combat the so called ¨bumpsterism¨ through the creation of suitable jobs for the young.

5.      Demilitarize the tourism zones and reduce the police presence.

7.  Trade
1.  Trade is the raison d’etre, the reason of existence or naming of the River Gambia, from which the state got its name, its grandeur and its commercial formidability. Lying as it does on the mouth of a most navigable waterway running from the Atlantic seaboard to the ancient trade routes that brought the goods of the trans-Saharan north, those of the eastern Sahel and its Savannah for exchange with the forests of the South. It was a centuries old tradition that was finally put to an end by the failures of the Re-export Trade in the late 1990s through bad governance policies, neglect, incompetence and reckless and immature diplomatic ventures and ignorant misrule by the Jammeh autocracy.

The center-stage of our trade policy is to restore the Gambia’s re-export trade to the volume it was in March 1994 by the year 2020. How?

2.  How? By reducing import duties, simplifying the tariff structure, fighting corruption at the customs department, the Ports Authority and other related official venues; diplomatic offensive of good neighborliness towards authorities of other states of the sub-region.

  1. Ensuring stable macroeconomic conditions, currency stability and sane commercial policy environment will help restore the Re-export Trade.

9.      Foreign policy
1.      Return the Gambia to the Commonwealth, ICC and all the other international bodies that the Jammeh autocracy pulled the Gambia out of.

2.      Reestablish closer ties with Senegal on the principle of a single people but two states.

3.      We will genuinely Embrace the AU, ECOWAS and Pan Africanism

  1.     Welcome back The Gambia’s traditional development partners especially the United Kingodm, Europe, the USA, and friendly Muslim countries, and to promote greater regional cooperation and integration.

  2.    Expedite the construction of the Trans-Gambian Bridge.

  3.    Restore and normalize relations with countries that the Jammeh regime has disrespected to welcome back all development partners.

10. Good Governance
1.  Constitutional review

2.  Establishment of a Third Republic.

3.  Introduction of two term presidential limit.

4.  Establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

  1. Establishment of a Human Rights Commission.

  2. Restructuring of the Army and other security institutions.

  3. Revisit National Education Policy

  4. Establish a Salary Review         Commission.

  5. Civil Service Reform.

Ends

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Disclaimer: Views expressed in this section are the author's own and do not represent the editorial policy of Kairo News. Kairo News will trash any comment that inflames tribal, racial or religious hatred.

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