Oct 5, 2016, 10:42 AM
Unplanned and unexpected “Public Holidays” are becoming too much, and must be taking their toll on the business of individual households, private enterprises and the larger national economy in The Gambia.
In The Gambia, there already exist many public holidays such as Independence Day, Tobaski, Koriteh, Malud Nabi, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ashoura, July 22nd Anniversary, New Year, Labour Day, African Liberation Day and so on.
We are very much concerned about the effect of the many public holidays on the education of our children; the slowing down of economic activity and national economic growth, as well as the frustration of official and personal business transactions.
Last week Friday’s public holiday was one public holiday that has never been part of our national holidays calendar, and came to many as a big surprise.
While we are not against recognizing and marking important national events and religious feasts, declaring national public holidays which, to put it mildly, create a lot of inconvenience for the people should not be the norm.
People could have been asked to pray for peace in the country, and the world as a whole, in all mosques and churches, without shutting down the whole nation by declaring a national public holiday.
Indeed, serious thought must be given to the effect of such unplanned public holidays on our fragile national economy.
We must be also mindful of the impression given by the too many public holidays, which could signal to the intenational community and our development partners that we are not serious-minded nor hard working, but are given to revelry and idleness.
Of course, such a perception cannot be right about most citizens and residents of this country.
We would, therefore, like to advise the authorities to avoid these too many public holidays, so as to safeguard our economy, and people’s right to run their businesses freely, and to access public services when they need to.
Finally, we must be reminded that the traditional public holidays have the blessing of official recognition as well as being guided by set rules and regulations.
It is important, therefore, to abide by these conventions and national laws in declaring public holidays.