5 January 2018

Gambia: 'National Assembly Members Are the Right Consultants'-Majority Leader

Hon. Kebba K Barrow, Majority leader and Member for Kombo South at Parliament has told Members of the Assembly that they are the right consultants for any Ministry that needs consultancy work in the country.

Hon. KK Barrow made this remark during the final adjournment debate of the 2017 Legislative year, last week.

Hon. Barrow said this is necessary because Members understand the problems of their constituencies more than anyone; that the coming of members of the Executive Arm of the government to listen and hear the views of the representatives of the citizenry, where they defend their rights and ensure that their economic, social status and cohesion is upheld and improved, is a step in the right direction and good for the new democratic dispensation. He added that the key areas they should look into are the Ministries of Basic and Secondary Education, Health and Agriculture; that these are areas that will uplift the standard of the average Gambian and alleviate the country from the clutches of poverty for the past 52 years.

He said a lot of poverty alleviation programs have been developed for the country since in 1993, such as the SPA 1 and 2, PRPS 1 and 2, PAGE 1 and 2 and now the MDP; that all have been talking about alleviating marginalized rural communities from poverty but that the poverty rate of Gambians is above 48 percent; that Gambians are poorer today than ever before and that the situation got worse during the past 22 years. "Where are the people going to have the resources? These are the issues this National Assembly wants to address and we want everybody to understand that we want to get this country from the problems we have lived for the past 52 years", he said.

Hon. Barrow asserted that the NA will not relent in its responsibilities in making sure that every dalasi that is budgeted for is used in the right place. "These oversight functions will be done. That is why we are appealing for more funds from the Finance Ministry to ensure that the capacity of Lawmakers are built to enable them coordinate and network with other institutions and organizations to move our nation forward", he stressed

Hon. Barrow called on Gambians to put hands on deck and ensure that policies that would be put in place are inclusive. He implored the Health Ministry to be cautious in procuring drugs in the face of counterfeit drugs, to ensure that the needed vaccines and drugs are secured and for attitudinal change among health personnel and encouraged them to be ready to serve wherever they are posted. "This has to cease and stopped outright and the Personnel Management Office. They should decentralize the PMO offices in all the regions to ensure a good monitoring of health personnel in their respective posting areas", he asserted.

Hon. Barrow emphasized that this is where the NA will be able to coordinate and use the policies drawn by Government to ensure cohesion, understanding and more coordination with which they will be able to prioritize, forecast and lift the sovereignty of the Gambian people. On persons with disability, he urged for sign language for the people with hard of hearing to be able to understand issues when broadcast. He hailed GADHOH for their efforts with agencies and institutions in the sub region by coming out with good sign language interpreters who are now offering trainings in the sub-region; that their views cannot be heard over GRTS and tasked the Information Minister to work with his team to ensure that sign languages are part of the National News on the TV, for that sector of the population to understand and know what is happening.

He called on the MoBSE to improve the learning quality in schools, noting that the funds are available; that they should work with experts in ensuring that the quality comes back. He added that the Women's Bureau should judiciously utilize the funds in capacitating the women folk who spend 20 hours of their lives on house-hold chores and contribute their quota by ensuring that they benefit from the sales of their produce.

He finally called for strategic, more robust and forward plans and use of the EU Funded project worth D200, 000,000.00, to ensure that the returnees are able to sustain themselves. He called on the Ministries to put in their plans in the decentralization process.


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