For The Gambia to fully realise this, a new pathway must be carved that must include a new constitution to address human rights violations, limitations on presidential terms and executive powers among other things including a greater political involvement of women and youth. The new constitution is important towards our country’s drive to strengthen democracy. Failure to adopt a new constitution that should usher The Gambia’s third republic will put our country in a vulnerable position of sliding slowly towards dictatorship and a return to the unconstitutional status quo that existed during the Jammeh era.
Mr. President, congratulations to Gambian and Senegalese governments in breaking the deadlock of the transit trade.
The two governments have reached a commendable significant bilateral agreement on transit facilitation.
The two governments discussed and agreed to adopt strategies for combating transit fraud through information sharing; eliminating all non tariff barriers particularly on petroleum products destined to Mali and the handling of goods in transit to Bissau and Conakry.
We hope and pray the agreement will be honoured; Gambian and Senegal who are condemned to live together should live in harmony, peace and tranquility and should work for the benefit of the two countries.
Since Independence, The Gambia and Senegal have signed many agreements, which were kept under carpets.
The Senegambia Secretariat should monitor the situation and if there is fault, the two heads of state to take action.
Mr. President, Ramadan is scheduled for next week (April 13) according to the calendar.
Prices of basic food commodities will skyrocket because the demand would be high. Since ordinary people have been suffering economically with a hike in prices of basic commodities over the past year due to the pandemic, your government should immediately reinforce the 2015 Essential Commodity Act; as it seeks to regulate importation, distribution and retailing of essential commodities to ensure availability at fair and reasonable prices.
The Act requires importers of essential commodities such as rice, sugar, edible oil, flour, chicken thighs, whole chicken, onions, potatoes and now cement to obtain an import licence from the Ministry of Trade to be able to import these commodities.
Therefore, an additional hike during Ramadan will make matters even worse. A bag costs up to D400. Since there is liberal trade, retail shopkeepers have no sympathy for their customers on basic food and cement.
The Ministry of Trade should convey a meeting between importers, shopkeepers, retailers and the GCCI to address the problem.
Finally Mr. President, health officials should do more campaigns about vaccination, opinions are divided because of the negative campaign on social media.
Many people still seem reluctant to take the vaccine, but health workers should use the media to convince the population.