Apr 7, 2020, 12:56 PM

Relief plan needed

Mr. President, last week, the state of public health emergency was extended by 45 days by the National Assembly instead of the 90 days that was initially suggested by your government.

We hope that you will address the nation one more time as this is the time for you to get closer to the population and be communicating as frequently as possible.

Mr. President, now that the state of public health emergency has been extended, we want to hear from your government, how and when would your government help the citizenry especially with regards to their cost of living since most of the breadwinners are no more working.

We appreciate the efforts of Gambians both living within and without who have been raising money to buy food and sanitary items and giving them to families and organisations; companies and individuals also pledging through the GCCI Telethon Fund Raising; pharmacies donating medical items. These are very laudable gestures indeed! We also thank the Chinese government for providing us the required equipment through a donation and the worth of the items should be known to the public for transparency sake.

Mr. President, it’s still very necessary for your government to intervene as more needs to be done in assisting your citizens because we don’t know when this pandemic would come to an end.

Mr. President, the financial, economic and social implications of the lockdown and state of public emergency on citizens must be considered.

This is the right time for government to restore confidence and announce what kinds of relief support it will be extending to the most vulnerable families, to businesses and to ordinary workers.

The electricity and water bills of the population can be waived whilst still considering the payment of school fees for students when schools reopen.

Mr. President let us take a look at what is happening around us and from the far for you to know how best to spend the aids received from the World Bank etc.

Paul Kagame of Rwanda has distributed food items to Rwandans.

President Ouattara of Cote d’ivore promised to pay school fees of all students and school children for the rest of the year, payment of three months electricity and water and help the needy. Macky Sall is giving food and household items to the needy and also taken over water and electricity bill for the next three months. They have extended tax relief to all business for the current year; paying salaries to all workers in the government and the private sector during the crisis. They have allocated huge resources to the media houses for them to do more in sensitisation, education and information dissemination.

President Rock Kabore of Bukina Faso will pay three months water and electricity bill for his citizens and give them food.

President Isoufou of Niger promised to pay two months water and electricity bills and provide food items.

President Gaswani of Mauritania promised to give three months of his salary and every minister to give his one month salary. He will provide basic commodities to his citizenry.

Let us emulate the good things others are doing.

The money must be used for the purpose intended and for no other purpose. The Gambian people deserve better. Already World Bank has assisted with 10 million US dollars and IMF gave us 47.1millon US dollars for budget support

Mr. President, we salute the Ministry of Health and team for a good job done in treating two of the affected coronavirus patients and finally discharged. They have only one more patient to treat for now.

We hope that they have a budget on how to spend the money given and to account for every butut at the end of the pandemic.

Now that the public health emergency has been extended, it will be good to allow businesses to operate and a curfew time be introduced to allow people to look for their daily bread.

Finally Mr. President, government ministries should settle three months bills of the print media houses they owed and help in the media package of covid-19 both print and broadcast as many African countries are doing.

Good day!

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