Fellow Gambians,Residents of The Gambia,
is growing concern that the number of confirmed COVID-19 casesin The Gambia has
increased to ten. This is more than double the number since my last address to
the nation. Globally, as at today, 26th
April 2020, there have been over 2.7 million confirmed cases and over a hundred
and ninety thousand recorded deaths, and we are still counting.
this concern, I am encouraged by the support our communities continue to
receive from the public, the private sector, individuals, civil society groups,
municipalities, politicians and friends of The Gambia.
these contributions, there are individuals, groups and National Assembly
Members who have committed themselves to sensitising the public.
health and socio-economic responses to the coronavirus pandemic is most
certainly a daunting challenge. Nevertheless, we must weather the storm and, in
the process, make tough decisions, such as the declaration of the state of
thank the National Assembly Members for their cooperation in this venture. All
these interventions demonstrate our depth of understanding, compassion and
unity in times of adversity.
express gratitude to every one for the solidarity and for upkeeping the spirit
of “One Gambia, One People and One Nation” in these most unusual and trying
my government recognises the urgency to address the impact of the COVID-19
pandemic, we are mindful of the need for professional responses to both the
growing health and economic crisis arising from it.
in full gear is the continuing and relentless effort to guide the management,
containment and prevention of the spread of the virus.
among the measures in progress are the upgrading of our health care services,
provision of social support, security reinforcement and abiding by the rule of
through social mobilisation and the media to raise consciousness amongst the
population continues to take centrestage in our strategic responses. Also key
is the objective of mitigating the negative impact of the pandemic on the
am pleased to disclose that, together with the World Bank, we have acquired
Twelve Million Dollars (US$12 Million) worth of equipment for the Ministry of
Health. The items, which include Personnel Protective Equipment, digital x-rays
and ventilators, are being transported to The Gambia from the Republic of
an assessment of COVID-19 Holding Centres in different parts of the country has
been completed. As at now, an initial one thousand (1000) hospital beds are
being prepared in case of any mass escalation of Coronavirus infections.
addition to these, a good number of medical items including Personal Protective
Equipments, test kits and some ventilators are now available to the health
measures, such as random testing in various communities and mass fumigation
exercises, will be employed if need be.
with measures to strengthen the health sector, emphasis has been put on
strategic support to households in order to minimise the impact of the slowdown
of economic activities. This is being undertaken through effective coordination
particular, we have planned for rapid regional responses to control infection
through local transmission in the country.
the restrictive parameters of the state of emergency, the search for livelihood
and ensuring food security are realities that must be safeguarded, while we
continue to observe the social distancing guidelines and use facial masks in
of the difficulties that confront many households, the Government has devised
strict measures to ensure that our food stock is secure. I am informed by the
Ministry of Trade that supplies of rice, sugar, flour and other food items are
me emphasise that under the emergency powers, strict regulations are in place
to make sure that people hiking prices, hoarding or attempting to smuggle food
items outside the country are brought to book.
are aware that about two hundred thousand (200,000) people are engaged in the
retail and service sectors. To support this important business community, the
tax returns for 2019 have been deferred from the first quarter of 2020 to the
second quarter. In addition, there are ongoing reviews to tease out
possibilities to further support Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
critical measure to control COVID-19 is the restriction on the movement of
people through the stay-at-home policy. Notwithstanding this policy, however,
Government continues to pay salaries to public servants.
government has decided to de-congest the prisons and allow for social
distancing. To this end, I have pardoned
121 prisoners with effect from 23rd April, 2020.
government recognises that Gambians deserve an urgent national response to both
the health and socio-economic crises resulting from losses in productivity and
remittances to Gambian households.
we will ensure that support provided to all citizens, especially the
vulnerable, is real in value. In this respect, following a thorough review
exercise, over seven hundred and thirty-four million (GMD734,254,864) is now
available to support 84% deserving
support will include rice, oil and sugar to each of the vulnerable households
must stress that this amount is different from the Five Hundred Million Dalasis
(D500 Million) already earmarked for the Ministry of Health to upgrade and
sufficiently strengthen our health system to address the COVID-19 challenges
and accountability form the cornerstone of our governance system. To uphold
these principles and guarantee financial discipline and management of the
resources available for the pandemic, a single government account has been
opened to cater for rapid one-stop financial transactions.
distributions and monitoring mechanisms have been put in place involving the
relevant institutions and local government authorities. Distribution Points have been identified and
vouchers will be used to reach the household beneficiaries with the government
Donation Committee has already been set up to coordinate all donations
regarding COVID-19, and a National Response Coordinator has been identified.
This decision is meant to expedite efficient and effective processes in the
management and provision of socio-economic support, while keeping the public
informed and updated on such processes.
partnership with the security agents, health response teams and communities
along our borders have stepped up surveillance at both official and unofficial
entry points, and along the coastal areas. This partnership has resulted to
apprehension of some people who sneaked into the country.
from the immediate COVID-19 emergency programme, Government continues to pursue
its development agenda. In line with
the pledges made during my nationwide tour last year, thirty-three (33)
ambulances have been procured. The move is indeed timely, as the vehicles will
support the health facilities across the nation, especially if the COVID-19
cases escalate here.
a global pandemic, such as what we are witnessing, every country must look
inward to protect and provide for its people.
Therefore, it is equally timely that two thousand (2000) tonnes of
fertilizer are available to support farmers in the upcoming rainy season and
further strengthen our drive for food security.
urge all able-bodied persons, particularly the youth, to redirect their
energies into agriculture: be it to cultivate our staple foods or horticulture
production. Together, let us make
agribusiness a reality.
I conclude, allow me to thank our religious leaders for observing and
supporting the government’s emergency measures.
Both Muslim and Christian leaders have demonstrated leadership, despite
the difficulty to congregate in their places of worship.
the holy month of Ramadan begins, I entreat all Muslims to pray that Allah
provides humanity with the knowledge and means to overcome COVID-19 soonest and
prevent its spread any further.
thank all citizens and non-Gambians in the country for complying with the
emergency measures to ascertain that everyone in the country is protected and
safe. I urge you to continue observing the prevention measures advised by the
WHO and the Ministry of Health.
gratitude, I continue to appreciate and acknowledge the contribution of our
frontline workers in the health sector, specifically the health specialists,
ancillary staff, cleaners, cooks, drivers and the administrators behind the
scenes trying to keep our country safe.
frontline service providers in the security sector, public and private sectors,
social services and community providers are all playing their part in the fight
against the new Coronavirus. Your noble roles in these challenging times are
very much appreciated. Thank you.
conclusion, I assure every Gambian and resident of The Gambia that my
government will continue to review its policies and programmes and strive to
provide the best possible services during the COVID-19 era and beyond.
thank you for your attention.