Sunday, December 4

President Barrow says recovery from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic is not only slow

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President Adama Barrow has stated that the country’s recovery from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic is not only slow but also further frustrated by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, adding that the additional suffering arising from the war is simply unbearable.

He made the statement  at the TEKKI FIIprogramme closure and launching of the national employment policy and action plan 2022-2026, on Friday

“This occasion is doubly significant, as it links two issues that have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of many people in the country; namely, the closing of the Tekki Fii Programme and launching of the National Employment Policy and Action Plan, 2022-2026.

The two events have a bearing on each other, with the Policy providing long-term solutions to the challenges that the TEKKI FII intervention sought to address in the short term. Given the positive results of the TEKKI FII Programme, it is with a deep sense of accomplishment and much optimism for the future that I join you here in person,” he said.

He added: “There is no doubt that we have made important gains since 2017, and the results of the Tekki Fii Programme manifest this. The stories and results associated with it are indeed inspiring. Among other things, they give us renewed hope and strengthen our faith in the youth and the nation.”

He said it has disrupted markets and supply chains, and it continues to raise the prices of basic commodities to unprecedented levels and with much discomfort, this has triggered a serious global food crisis, particularly in the developing countries of Africa.

He noted that the current inflationary trends are mainly due to erratic energy and food prices.

According to him,  the impact of climate change is intensifying, hence the unprecedented floods experienced in the country this year affected more than fifty thousand (50,000) people.

“The global crises, with their devastating impact, have hit The Gambia very hard, thus increasing food insecurity, eroding household incomes, and undermining employment and economic growth.

We must recognise and admit that the situation is not the fault of the Government or any Gambian citizen. Like other countries, The Gambia is vulnerable to external shocks. Although our heavy dependence on imports makes us especially vulnerable to inflation and economic disruptions, no nation has been spared,”  he pointed out.

President  Barrow stressed that his government has weathered the pandemic crisis better than other countries, but the effects of the global shocks continue to dampen the country’s recovery and growth outlook.

“My government is determined to fight all out to reduce the impact of these shocks. Primarily, our focus is to offer support and soften the heavy economic burden on the most vulnerable citizens. For such reasons, we subsidise essential commodities and provide cash transfers to those in need through our social protection programmes.

In these difficult times, we must rely on one another. The biggest strength of Gambians lies in our peace, solidarity, our respect, and compassion for each other. We support each other and lift each other up in times of need and must maintain these values as our social safety net,” President Pointed out.

He added: “As we mitigate the impact of the global crises, the Government will continue to invest in a better tomorrow. We are committed to strengthening our resilience and making the economy less vulnerable to external shocks. These can be achieved through well-targeted people-centred and infrastructural investments. Such strategies have the potential to make The Gambia stronger, more productive, more competitive, and wealthier.”

The Gambian leader  emphasized that it is remarkable that, through the Tekki Fii Programme, saying “ we created and sustained more than nine thousand (9000) jobs, enabled more than seven thousand (7000) young Gambians to undergo skills training, and worked with close to five thousand (5000) small businesses.”

He added that these results are offshoots of his government’s youth-centred and private sector-led growth agenda.

“They reflect our drive to invest in the marketable skills of young Gambians, foster a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and self-employment, boost the growth of small businesses, and add value to Gambian products and services,” he pointed out.

President Barrow also said that he acknowledges, with gratitude, that the TEKKI FII achievements arose from the close collaboration between the public and private sectors and our confidence in the youth.

He applauds and appreciates our close and long-standing partnership with the European Union and the Tekki Fii Implementing Partners, the International Trade Centre implementing the Youth Empowerment Project, the German Agency for International Cooperation, the Instituto Marquês de Valle Flôr from Portugal, and the Belgian Development Agency, Enables.