Wednesday, November 30

NPP reacts to Almami Taal

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By Omar Bah

The National People’s Party administrative secretary, Mambanyick Njie has countered UDP spokesperson Almami Taal’s claims that ‘everything from food security to human security and all areas of development’ have crumbled under Barrow.

Taal also told The Standard last week that the presence of state ministers on the Niamina West by-election campaign trail is an affront to the constituents and that ministers’ involvement in the local politics could deflect voters from making an informed decision.

“This statement does not come to us as a surprise at all because we know that it is all part of the calculated and deliberate attempt by a few to discredit a government that has done so well and so much to fix the shattered system it inherited. Taal is the spokesperson of the UDP and has every right to sell the agenda of his party just as we have the right to defend the record of this government which is very much appreciated by the majority of Gambians who will demonstrate that in no uncertain terms come 2021,” he said.

Njie argued: “In terms of the argument that ministers should not be engaged in partisan politics, I would like to remind my good brother that when his party leader was in government as both foreign minister and vice president, he was constantly seen addressing UDP political rallies and meetings and no one including him complained because we all hold the view that ministers are political appointees regardless of their qualifications and experience.”

“No sane president would appoint individuals as ministers who do not support both their political and national development agenda. It does not happen anywhere.  Besides, in the 2017 parliamentary elections as well as during the council elections, the UDP leader and UDP ministers were campaigning for their candidates in a frantic effort to prove that the party is indeed the biggest in the land. At the time, my brother was right here watching and enjoying what was happening with no condemnation whatsoever,” he adduced.

Defending his government’s development agenda, Njie said the government inherited less than 35 million dollars of foreign reserves which has been markedly increased to over 200 million dollars hence stabilizing the dalasi against major foreign currencies.

“It is also of significance for the Gambian people to note that the APRC government was operating on loans at the time, thereby raising debt to GDP to 120 percent.  Interestingly, the Barrow government within three years of existence reduced the debt to GDP from 120 percent to 80 percent,” he added.

Njie said the former government was contracting loans from commercial banks which raised treasury bills and interest rates to 23% with the commercial banks resorting to what economists would refer to as arm chair banking.

“Now that the Barrow-led government has significantly reversed that dire situation, interest rates on treasury bills have come down to 9 percent. Additionally, interest rates on commercial bank lending have gone down from between 28 to 30 percent to 15 percent. Inflation had gone up by double digits during the previous regime but that situation has since changed with inflation now cut down to 7 percent,” he added.

Further arguing on how serious and determined the government is in improving livelihoods and providing social services to Gambians, Njie said revenue collection by the GRA has been remarkably increased from D500M to D1.2 billion per month.

“In terms of infrastructural development, every Gambian regardless of political affiliation is aware of the fact that this government has made significant inroads in improving the road network in the country. For a little over 50 years, the PPP and the APRC combined, constructed 750km of tarred roads whereas the Barrow-led government has constructed 450km of high quality roads in a little over three years,” he said.

He said the government has constructed 2900 standard classroom blocks and renovated 12 mix farming centers which were dilapidated and plans are at a very advanced stage to build 6 additional mix farming centers.

“This government by all indications is doing very well across all sectors under very difficult and complex circumstances,” Njie resolved.