Gambia: Good Morning Mr. President - the Water and Electricity Crisis

opinion

Mr. President, the water and electricity crisis seems to be going from bad to worse for the past weeks. Almost all the areas in the greater Banjul area are experiencing erratic water and electricity on a daily basis.

When will the problem of electricity and water supply be history for once and for all in The Gambia?

The problem of electricity started way back on November 22nd 1977 on 'Tobaski' day, and since then, all the past two governments tried their best still there has not been any solution to this problem.

Mr. President, from 2017 to date, the World Bank has provided NAWEC with 39. 4 million US dollars, in October last year, the German government doled out 1.3 million Euros. January this year, France also provided 16.5 million Euros to improve the water supply, and in March 2020, ADB also allocated 17 million US dollars to NAWEC.

Two weeks ago the World Bank again provided 43 million dollars grant to NAWEC to improve the electricity and water supply in the country.

Last Friday ECOWAS announced that some member countries will receive grants from the World Bank and The Gambia will be allocated 66 million US dollars.

Mr. President, with all these assistance, NAWEC has no excuse but to perform well to the satisfaction of customers.

The problem of NAWEC seems to be an administration issue as speculated by many and must be addressed soonest.

The appointment of Nani Juwara is seen as a good move because Nani has been working in the NAWEC system since 1994 and should be in a position to know what the main problems of NAWEC are. He has excellent public relations with most of the staff and customers, with support and prayers he can succeed.

The authorities, board members, management and staff of NAWEC should work together and support the new MD Nani Juwara to enable him restructure the company.

Mr. President, another burning issue is the demands of frontline health workers. It is heart-rendering to note that they threatened to strike if their demands are not met.

Health workers should be encouraged and given all the necessary financial support to fight COVID-19.

Since government has disbursed 500 million to fight the coronavirus with other financial assistance given for the fight of the pandemic, the allowances and all necessary facilities needed by the health sector should be a priority and provided without delay. Therefore the demands of the frontline health workers should be considered soon as they are the most important actors in the fight against the coronavirus.

Mr. President, something should be done in the Sanatorium where people are taken for quarantine. People cannot sleep during night time with the barking of dogs and the smoke coming from the garbages that are burnt around that area.

Passengers coming to the Gambia should be tested not more than 72 hours before arriving in the country and must provide their health certificates including the result of their lab test before being allowed to enter the country. That would reduce cost for the government a little. Medical authorities should now consider quarantine people at homes just like what Senegal and other countries are doing now.

Mr. President as Tobaski is fast approaching; so it will be more appropriate for ram dealers to come after being tested and provide their health certificates rather than people in The Gambia going to and from Senegal, where the transmission rate is very high.

Gambia has so far registered 64 cases in which 84% are imported and most of the cases are from Senegal, health authorities said.

The security officials and health authorities should be more vigilant to check those entering the country especially during these coming weeks.

Finally Mr. President it was wrong for militants of your party National Peoples Party (NPP) to break the law of the state of public emergency and disobey rules of WHO by organising a big rally in Gunjur over the weekend.

As the party leader and president of The Gambia, you should have discouraged them from organising a political rally at this time. Police should not have given them permit as nobody is above the law.

We are not in a period of politics; we should focus on how to eliminate COVID-19.

Good day!

Accessing solar-powered water supply!

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