Hon. Sallah says Barrow’s gov’t is not doing well
By Sulayman Waan
Abubacarr Halifa Sallah, secretary general for the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), has said the President Adama Barrow’s government has been more engaged in trial and error form of governance than a strategic one directed by a transformative agenda.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the head of the socialist party said: “We have seen that the Government in office is more engaged in trial and error form of governance than a strategic one directed by a transformative agenda. It is an opinion.”
“They may wish to disagree but we want a fresh conversation – a constructive one. They can engage us in a debate on the issue and that is what PDOIS intends to do in the coming 4 going to 5 years.”
However, Hon. Sallah justified that in 2021 there was over D81 billion debt burden on the country, adding in government policies, they can no longer take loans that have high interest rate – short term – short duration.
“The loan package has also become limited. Covid-19 has enabled the payment of the debt service (to be carried) forward but now it is going to catch up with us. So you have to deal with the realities of our economy and that is why you had to have a revised budget,” he noted.
“We have reviewed what was promised in 2021 by relying on subsidies to be able to provide fertilizer and then increase what was the market price for groundnut. Many people felt that this was going to be permanent but what became the reality fertilizer went to D2000 rather than D700 and most farmers cannot afford it,” Sallah said.
Speaking further, Hon. Sallah said the government has taken excuses that the expensiveness of the fertilizer is caused by the Ukraine war and that they cannot do anything about that.
However, the veteran politician was quick to add: “If you (the government) cannot do anything about the problems of the people, you should really also accept that. It is for the people to decide whether you should be there or not. That is the essence,” he said.
“Essentially, Governments must be governments of thinkers. That is why governments are governments – indirect exercise of power by the people. Why should I give you my might to exercise if you cannot serve me,” he rhetorically asked.
Consequently, he said the problems of The Gambia are not caused by Russia-Ukraine war but a problem of policy.
“It is important for you to realise that the major illness of our economy is the absence of injection of investment in the productive base so as to ensure that we earn more by our own wit and might than to depend on international assistance,” he noted.
He said The Gambia is importing most of her edible goods, noting in 2020 alone the country spent over 1.2 billion dalasis in terms of cereals on importation, over 2 billion dalasis on rice importations.
“We are importing eggs, potatoes [and] onions. We have a very fine weather. We do not have snow like Ukraine or Russia (foods producers). We have waterways everywhere – underground water sources,” he added.