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NPC Boss Calls For National Solidarity To Fight Poverty

Jun 11, 2009, 7:30 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

Mr. Alieu Ngum, the Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) has outlined government's commitment in the fight against poverty, noting that poverty encompasses economic, social and political considerations. He thus called for greater national solidarity and partnership towards eradicating poverty.

Mr. Ngum made these remarks while delivering a welcome address at the opening of a one-day sensitisation forum on the MDGs' report 2007, held at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi, on Tuesday 9 June 2009.

He noted that the outcome of the forum would no doubt contribute to enhancing the implementation of programmes, geared towards attaining the MDG target.

For Mr. Ngum, "it is essential that all stakeholders realise that poverty eradication should be a matter of concern for all of us". He said it is also worth noting that the plight of the poor can impact on the comfort and security of the more privileged and affluent members of the human society.

According to him, government has made a conscious choice in favour of an accelerated development strategy for attaining poverty reduction and social development goals within the shortest possible time.

He underscored the importance of tackling the issue of poverty within the global partnership framework. And he then called for further enhancement of co-operation in support of special programmes for development.

Mr. Ngum further stated that the current global economic crisis is an opportunity for us all to reform policies in line with imperatives of improving socio-economic development.

"The universal goal of eradicating extreme poverty continues to be a priority on the international development agenda, but the number of people living in poverty today makes us believe that many of our countries should work hard to be on track in order to meet the MDG goals by 2010", he said.

He added that MDGs provide benchmarks against which progress towards the sustained realisation of the overall well-being of people are measured.

"The Gambia, therefore is committed to the attainment of the MDGs and has put in place a monitoring mechanism to measure progress", Mr. Ngum said, adding that the Gambia has in recent years taken enormous strides to improve the well-being of its people.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Alagie Nyagado, Principal Economist, Policy Analysis Unit of the Office of the President, said "today witnessed another achievement in the Gambia government's effort towards sustainable socio-economic development".

He said effective planning and policy-making process has been the central role of the government, including the National Planning Commission's policy analysis unit and other relevant ministries.

According to Mr. Nyagado, in monitoring the Millennium Development Goals, the Gambia has produced three progress reports on the status of the MDGs' achievements in the country.

He noted that the first report, which was released in December 2003, provided an overview of progress at the national level, while the second report of March 2005, focused its assessment on the local level.

The third report of August 2008, he went on, assessed status with a view to determining the feasibility of meeting some of the goals and targets.

For his part, Mr. Almamy Camara of the UNDP, said the objectives of the MDGs were to greatly improve government's commitment to include new priorities for the poor and marginalised people and communities.

"Fighting poverty and promoting sustainable development in the Gambia requires the active involvement and participation of all stakeholders and development partners," he concluded.