#Article (Archive)

A sign of hope

Feb 9, 2010, 11:41 AM

(Monday, 08th February 2010 issue)
We welcome the move by President Jammeh in appointing a new Minister of Information, Communications, and Infrastructure. This was a clarion call made by all journalists, so that in doing our job we have easy access to information, to ensure factuality.

The appointment of the new Communications Minister should boost access to information from the government.

Once again, we want to state that the government should do everything possible to open its doors to the independent media, and to abolish all draconian press laws, since this hinders the existence of a free press in the country.

We also call on the government to consider the situation of the newspaper companies and commercial radio stations in this country, which do play a key role in a democratic society by informing and educating the masses. Consequently, consideration should be given to exempting them from the Education Levy, and reducing taxes levied on media outlets, thus facilitating access to newsprint, and so on.

For the new Minister of Lands, high on his agenda should be to regulate the acquisition of land for residential and other purposes, which at the moment is a problematic area. Currently, there are several court cases relating to land disputes, and it is high time that the Lands Minister and the Attorney General's Chambers work together to put a definitive stop to dubious deals in land acquisition, including the sale and allocation of land to two or more persons.

The new Minister of Tourism could bring her wide experience in marketing to play, whereas the government should look into introducing competitive hotel rates and reducing taxes in the tourism industry.

We must also endeavour to achieve the longstanding goal of an all-year-round tourism. The new minister should invite all hoteliers to see how best to promote tourism and our rich cultural heritage, including eco-tourism.

As for the new Minister for Higher Education, implementing the new campus project for the University of The Gambia at Faraba Banta in the Kombo East district of the Western Division should be a priority.

Our advice to the new Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources is to call a meeting of all those involved in the fishing sector with a view to revamping the industry.

It is our view that it is imperative to revive industrial fishing in the country by helping local fishing companies in trouble to reopen, since they create a lot of employment opportunities and foreign exchange. The government must also work to realise the related fishing port project.

Indeed, the government should also look into the provision of training and fishing trawlers, for example, so as to enable Gambians to effectively participate in fisheries, especially the youths.

For the new Minister of Trade, Industry and Employment, we urge him to meet the private sector operators to address the issue of acquiring basic commodities, which are of good quality and to make these available to consumers at affordable prices.

Whereas the government must be commended for reducing corporate tax, the electricity tariffs and mobile phone charges, it must move speedily in carrying out the revision of the incentive schemes offered to investors and businessmen, who should be encouraged by minimising taxes.

The new Minister of the Economy, Planning and Industrial Development is advised to focus on national industrial development, with emphasis on the promotion of the development of appropriate technologies, as well as investments which ensure technology transfer.


"Our country, right or wrong! when right, to be kept right; when wrong to be put right."
Carl Schurz