By Yunus S Saliu
President Adama Barrow, reflecting on the success of his government has said that his government is proud of the massive successes recorded during the last six years.
President Barrow who was addressing the gathering on the occasion of the NFSPMC-TIJMS Trading International Joint Venture held at Arch 22 in Banjul on Friday pointed out among others that the construction of over one thousand kilometres of roads and bridges, the unprecedented implementation of energy projects across the regions, the continuous investments in the health sector, and “the numerous developments arising from our reform and restructuring agenda.”
Noting that “Together, we can celebrate these achievements as outputs of the vision of a unified people.”
Mr. President noted that in his last inaugural address said that he made a solemn and sincere oath to the Gambian nation and that after five years as President, his understanding of the challenges of the Gambia people and the operations of the state prepared him immensely to work towards fulfilling his promises to the people.
“My oath and the address that followed resulted from thorough reflection and assessment of my government’s achievements and shortcomings during my first term in office.
“Weighing on my commitments as Head of State, I have since resolved that my administration, in fulfillment of its mandate, must strive to do its utmost to seek support and harness the resources at our disposal for the attainment of our national vision and commitments.”
He stated that while the development strides are guided by the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063, his government understands that as a country, “We must focus our development agenda on our local context.”
He explained that “To contextualise our development efforts and enhance popular participation, we developed the 2018-2021 National Development Plan, which has been succeeded by the current Green Recovery Focused National Development Plan. These plans feed neatly into our long-term Vision 2050.”
However, he disclosed that his government realised how urgent it is to translate these plans into concrete action that benefits and cuts across the length and breadth of the country, but quickly noted that they know that the impact of their decisions will be felt countrywide.
More profoundly, President Barrow said they recognize that their decisions and actions will most certainly impact the current generation as well as generations to come, “this makes it necessary to act fast but wisely and appropriately to register successes with far-reaching impact on the citizens.”
True as this may be, he said with the growing uncertainty in the global economy, rising instability on the continent, increasing commodity prices around the world, the growing effects of climate change, and other striking challenges, “we must, as a country, re-define our priorities, investments, and interventions.”
President Adama Barrow went on “A popular adage warns that a country that cannot feed itself is not free. This was made evident during the spread of the last global COVID-19 pandemic. With disrupted services, a reduction in global food exports, and weakened import systems, countries with small economies like The Gambia, were left at the mercy of large international food industries and we had little or no room for movement. “
Moving forward, he said governments and organizations around the world are now evolving in structure and operation, based on lessons learned from the pandemic. “This evolution is absolutely necessary in our country, as our populations and their demands change and grow. It is on account of the dynamics of change and growth that governance, services, and production can no longer be the same. This means that the practices and procedures in all formal institutions must change.”
As public servants rendering services to the people, he said it is most important that everyone devise bold solutions that safeguard the country’s integrity and independence. “To do this, we must attain and sustain food sovereignty.”
In this direction, he stated that the inauguration of this project attests to his government’s recent policy shifts, brought about by global circumstances. Now, in the interest of the people, their focus is on bold solutions, using digital technologies in the agriculture sector.
He urged Heads of public institutions to see this as an example of forward-thinking approaches and innovative development. Thus, the partnerships ought to be mutually beneficial and aligned with the realities of the people. In the same way, the projects should always be inclusive and multi-faceted enough to effectively solve the growing challenges of the growing youthful population.
The president believed that the success of this project would surely lead to a decrease in youth unemployment. It is a bold step towards food self-sufficiency and will contribute to increased GDP and foreign exchange earnings, he assured
He, therefore, registered his sincere congratulations to Mr. Muhammed Njie and his team on this important milestone.
The developments at NFSPMC testify to what can be achieved with robust and strategic management, supported by visionary leadership at the government level. Developing our sectors requires combined institutional efforts, with a focus on the expectations of our people, he enunciated.
The President of The Gambia also applauded TIJMS Trading International for their partnership, saying “My government will give all the support it can muster to ensure that this initiative succeeds in benefiting the parties involved.”
He concluded “It is convincing that, with unity and such support, The Gambia would eventually become a beacon of hope and glory. We can demonstrate how a nation can achieve great things when a people stand together under one unified vision: Unified in Purpose, Unified in Strength, and Unified in Development.”