The Gambia government notes with concern
that despite modest infrastructural developments since independence in 1965,
the country faces major constraints in its overall infrastructural
landscape. Compared to our neighbours,
some places in The Gambia are still in dire need of major infrastructural
facelifts. This general state of dilapidated and decrepit infrastructure or
lack thereof, speaks volumes to the senseless waste of scarce resources,
institutional malfeasance, corruption and poor planning.
While millions of US dollars were lavishly wasted on ceremonies, random acts of kindness and white elephant projects, majority of Gambians continue to endure abject poverty, poor educational facilities and a dysfunctional healthcare system.
Against this depressing background of decades of decay, poverty and underdevelopment, President Adama Barrow proposes to launch an independent institution through an Act of Parliament to be called The Gambia Infrastructure Fund (GIF), according to the Office of Government Spokesperson.
To be headed by a Chief Executive Officer, GIF will be responsible for the strategic financing of a well-planned and bankable infrastructure with a view to remarkably transforming the economy through large scale household poverty reduction.
As a new institution, President Barrow envisages that GIF complements the public sector role in development by providing strategic leadership in the creation and delivery of infrastructure masterplans, the development of strategic bankable infrastructural facilities and the provision of appropriate financing to support delivery of landmark projects. The proposed GIF will manage three core areas of responsibility for development:
1. Gambia Infrastructure Trust Fund (GITF) – This will manage the trust fund capitalized by domestic and foreign individuals, institutional and fund investors, using market-based mechanisms. The proposed GIF may not place any financial liability (explicit or contingent) on the government.
2. Planning Function –which will develop infrastructure masterplans and designs, and further manage and/or coordinate construction, operation and maintenance of ensuing infrastructure through public—private partnerships.
3. Compliance Function–To provide institutional and regulatory leadership required to sustainably manage infrastructure master plans and projects.
When fully operational, GIF will invest in three economic hubs geographically spread across the country, interconnected by backbone infrastructure corridors, to engineer economic growth through large scale job creation and poverty reduction in all regions.
As a first step, The Gambia Government is to establish an Interim Steering Committee (ISC) to prepare the ground for rolling out GIF within a year.
Consistent with the ethics of transparency and democratic accountability and determined to transform the lives of Gambians across the spectrum, President Adama Barrow is therefore, very pleased to announce these plans and will keep the public informed every step of the way in the weeks and months to come as certain milestones are achieved.