Mr. President, first of all, let’s take this opportunity to wish our Christian brothers and sisters a very solemn and meaningful Lenten season as they began their fasting season last Wednesday. Lent is a time for prayers, fasting and alms giving in the Christian Calendar and is observed for 40 days and nights.
In the same vein, the month of March is mostly dedicated to women all around the world as they celebrate International Women’s day on the 8th of March every year. This is a time to reflect on the lives of women in general whether positive or negative.
Mr. President, We commend all women in The Gambia for the achievements they have registered in all areas; be it in the health sector, education sector, agriculture etc. despite being the most vulnerable. The appointing of a Women’s Affairs minister, official launching of the 50 Million Women Speak Platform Project and the setting up of the new Chamber of Commerce dedicated to Business Development and Trade for Gambian women are all important for the development of the welfare of women in the country.
But, we also appeal to all these organisations to lower down their scope of work to the most vulnerable women in the country. Let them also cater for the welfare of the women in the farms, the women in the market, the women in the homes and in everywhere that women are engaged in. Let them not only cater for the women up the ladder leaving out the women down the ladder.
Mr. President, the municipal councils should also be tasked to help the women in the markets who are paying their daily dues, but yet lack a proper structure to be selling their products. The rainy season is fast approaching and the state of the markets sewage systems in Brikama, Serrekunda and most major markets in the country are so bad that selling their products become a problem and it’s very unhealthy for them to be selling in some environment.
The women are also crying as prices of commodities in the market are hiking and unaffordable. The depreciation of the dalasi is affecting the price of commodities in the market. There should be a price control force that will be looking into the inflation of prices and stabilise the prices of commodities in the market.
Finally, Mr. President, the transport system still remains a challenge for the populace. Commuters find it very difficult to get transport to go to work, school and move on their daily businesses both in the morning and evening time.
The Transportation Ministry and the Transport Union should regularise the transport system as drivers are now over charging commuters two to three times the fares for one destination which cannot continue as transport allowances have not been increased. Government should invest in getting more buses deployed into some parts of the country to help ease the problem of transportation just like during the times of GPTC.