In an interview with this medium, Kah outlined that he was expecting the president to give Gambians “an update about the biggest cocaine seizure that was made this year but rather he provided no information on the process and procedures regarding that particular matter which would have given Gambians the confidence on how serious his government is about in fighting drugs.”
He continued that he was disappointed when the president spoke about the British Petroleum (BP), saying that he expected the president to talk about the agreement that The Gambia has with them, what The Gambia expects when they start exploiting those resources but not telling us about some changes that might have happened regarding the licensing and the amount they paid as compensation.
Kah further said he was even shocked when President Barrow talked about security, “I was expecting him to talk about the ECOMIG forces in the country. Their existence in the country is a concern to Gambians as lot of Gambians are not happy that they (ECOMIG) still stay in the country and also I was expecting him to tell us what plans he has for the security sector reform, the programmes he has for the security and the policies which he never mentioned during his presentation,” he opined.
He added that the issue of the TRRC that the people talked about 24/7 has not been heard from the president. “When I looked through the president’s statement, it seemed the President was running away from many important areas of particular sectors such as the judiciary and the programs his government ushered in,” Kah stated.
According to him, the president could have made promises or at least reinforced his promises to Gambians that probably we would expect a new constitution as well as talk about the full implementation of both the Janneh Commission and the end of the TRRC, which the Supreme Court has made rulings that should be implemented.
About the illegal migration according to Kah, the problem why youths are going is not because they are not aware of the harms that are on the way but because of the unemployment frustration they have gone through over the years. “Looking throughout his statement, almost all programs that have been implemented by the government has always been a grant being issued to us, a support or debt which could cause more problems for the country than he even found it.” He continued
“I would have been happy if it was about GDP has increased by this percentage due to increased in number of factories, increased in production that are Gambian products and increased in exportation which is how a country develops but not about convincing ADB, IMF, UNDP and UN to give us grants and debts,” he concluded.
“I was impressed with the President’s speech but in my opinion that was not the best that the country really deserves as we need something bigger than what he said,” says Hon. Suwaibou Touray National Assembly member for Wulli East.
According to him, looking at the “area of infrastructural development yes that is good but most of the projects are loans from the WB,ADB, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait amongst others which is like the president is putting the country in serious debt situation. I think we need to look in how do we generate resources for the country to be able to carry out some of the projects on our own rather than just taking loans,” he stated.
The Wulli East MP added that the government should look into our budget and invest in the productive base of the economy such as groundnut to create the necessary industry that will give us the comparative advantage to be able to compete in the international market rather than continuously importing and exporting to what is almost nothing.
“Our re-export is not working very well because it is mainly to Mali while Senegal is also creating a lot of blockages to ensure that the re-export trade suffers. Thus, as a country we must be able to build our industry to be able to produce finished products that we can sell outside in order to get foreign exchange for our development,” he suggested.