May 7, 2020, 11:12 AM
The coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak continues to be a widespread concern bringing economic hardship to many consumers, businesses and communities across the globe.
The continent so far has recorded 78,280 cases 2,624 deaths and 29,245 recovered. In the world 4,733,564 cases have been registered with 313,395 reported dead.
Mr. President, now that the pandemic has been predicted to prolong for one year, your government should draw a strategy plan for the democratisation process in the country.
The draft constitution which should be presented to parliament in August and Referendum should come afterwards. But before the referendum, it will be appropriated to get new registration of voters list because the current one contained thousands of foreigners who were registered and also voters’ cards burnt all should be organised in a proper manner.
Social distancing should be respected in all processes. The immigration should resume work now for citizens to get National ID cards or passports, as life must go on.
Mr. President, last month, Mali and Guinea held parliamentary elections whilst Benin held its municipal elections yesterday.
Gambia should also be able to properly organise itself to go for the referendum for the constitution and later for presidential elections in 2021.
Mr. President after the presidential elections, if you are lucky to be re-elected, it will be wise for you never to seek for another mandate after 2026.
The order of the day in Africa is two terms, so don’t follow the sycophants who are here for their own gains to advise you to continue after 2026 because it will just derail your legacy and lead to instability.
Mr. President turning in the socio economy of the nation, your government should collaborate with the Central Bank, ensure business continuity (survival) of the private sector especially the tourism and entertainment and other similarly affected sectors to mitigate the impact of covid-19 on their businesses and employment. Tourism is Gambia’s second earner of foreign exchange after groundnut representing about 20% of GDP.
The Central Bank can give orders to the commercial banks to give out loans to be paid at an interest rate of 2% in two years period to enable them to cover administrative charges, reduce VAT and bed taxes.
Mr. President, the media which is playing a role in the fight against covid-19, should not be left out for financial assistance as advertisements have dropped drastically, with high cost of printing materials which increases by 20% and so many returned (unsold) copies.
There is no doubt that the government has received much financial support from IMF, World Bank, EU, Islamic Bank, Arab Development Bank and ADB etc.
All these aids should be used in the right channel and help the citizens in these hard times of covid-19.
Mr. President, we commend the minister for Health who is sacrificing in this covid-19 and wish not to be receiving allowances.
We thank the minister for his vigilance and detecting the malpractices in a list of 300 ghost workers which was presented to him to pay allowances. The culprits should be exposed and brought to Justice to avoid such practices in the future.
Finally Mr. President, the state of emergency ends today so we expect your government to come up with better measures to be taken in combating the covid-19.
It’s Koriteh festivity time so the government should be very vigilant and not to be complacent as the virus still exists. Provision of enough security to help and guide the people in their shopping and also give chance to the market vendors to sell their goods should be a priority. This is the best time for them to make money especially during “wanterr”.
Creating more community and border awareness on the prevention of covid-19 is critical in stemming the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The spread of the coronavirus across the world has resulted in a great deal of change to the way we interact with each other and how we do business. Since the virus was first reported, its rapid spread has caused countries to close their borders and companies and economies to grind to a halt.
Deputies at the National Assembly on Saturday rejected a motion for the extension period of the state of public emergency to another 45 days.
Mr. President, we have registered five more cases, prompting the question if we need to do many more tests. Have we started making use of the test kits we just received from China? If so, what is the immediate medium and long term plan or even the aftermath of Covid-19?