The permanent secretary of the Finance ministry has stated that some D25BN is required to implement the country's medium term development plan - the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment.
His revelation made in the presence of the private sector actors cannot have come at a much better forum. It is common knowledge that PAGE, which came at the very end of the second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP II), seeks to enhance further the productive base of the economy by maximising its growth potentials, which will in turn create employment. The private sector must therefore be in the vanguard of its implementation since they stand to benefit from it as much as government.
PRSP is now history and statistical data shows that in spite of the huge success registered by the PRSP, poverty and unemployment continues to pose challenges to national development.
Initiatives like PAGE to curb these two social menaces can only be successfully implemented with a vibrant public-private cooperation, financing and support.
Development by itself is an evolutionary process and requires ever changing policies and structures to achieve its objectives. PAGE, if successfully implemented will greatly expedite our development.
The political will is of course in place to guarantee its success, as the leadership has a strong desire for the development of The Gambia. It is quite apparent that the government is not relenting in its efforts of creating the necessary environment for the citizenry to fulfill its aspirations, and for the sustainable development of the country.
What is required is for all stakeholders in development particularly the private sector to embrace PAGE with open arms and collaborate with government to ensure the realisation of its objectives. There is in place the necessary infrastructure, political will and greater part of the capacity needed to make the programme work.
The challenge is for all to adapt to the demands, commitments and dynamics that this new programme would require so that collectively we can reduce poverty and unemployment in the country.
We hope the private sector will heed to this call.