Jul 15, 2020, 11:18 AM
On December 4, Gambians went to the polls and re-elected President Barrow to steer the affairs of the country for the next five years. Now expectations are high for the Gambian leader to bring development to the doorsteps of the masses.
In this regard, youth leaders have quickly called on the head of state to respond to the needs of the youth in their various regions to improve living standards.
Speaking to The Point exclusively, Ousman Sanneh, regional youth chairperson for Lower River Region (LRR), called on President-elect Barrow to make sure there is effective youth political participation and equal political representation in the country.
He said there is a greater need for the youth to be involved in political participation and hold elective positions so that they meaningfully partake in societal decision-making processes.
“I want President-elect Barrow to ensure that youth participate in politics, and once we talk about youth political participation, it does not merely have to do with participating just for the sake of participation. However, we have to be represented in the National Assembly or be given positions in government. This can enhance political participation,” he said.
Speaking further, Sanneh said the government should create more job opportunities for young people in the Lower River Region to ensure they earn money to live a decent life.
According to the 2018 survey, which was conducted by the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) in partnership with United Nation Development Programmes (UNDP) and subjected to Gambia Labour Force Survey (GLFS), youth unemployment rate stands at 41.5%.
The data also shows that 30.6 percent of youth in the urban areas are unemployed and 69.4 percent are unemployed in the rural areas.
In this regard, Mr. Sanneh: “I want more youth employment opportunities to be created in the region. Because, if you look at the unemployment rate in the region most of the affected people are youth,” he noted.
Isatou Secka, chairperson for Kanifing Municipality Regional Youth Committee (KM RYC), called on the government to refurbish the municipality’s youth centre located at Kanifing Estate. She said refurbishing the facility would enable more youth to acquire life-skills that would help them to live a decent life in future.
The youth leader further opined that the government should waive tax for young entrepreneurs. She said, imposing free tax on young entrepreneurs would help in the sustainability of businesses for beginners in the market.
“Sometimes young entrepreneurs have little capital from loans or grants to start a business and they often find it tedious to advance within a year. Because they do not have many goods, waiving their taxes will help them to invest all their income into the business and sustain the business,” she said.
Bubacarr Sidibeh, regional youth chairperson for the Upper River Region (URR), tasked the government to provide more youth empowerment projects for URR youth such as mechanised agriculture as well as financial aid to youth that have life-skills so that they commence businesses in their various areas of expertise.
“I believe if the youth are supported they will be able to employ themselves and employ others,” he said.
Moving forward, he requested better recreational centres for URR youth, noting URR youth are into sports but they are not enjoying it at all owing to lack of better pitches.
He cited that Basse town has a stadium that has the capacity to carry many spectators but it’s now in a terrible condition. He added other districts in URR also lack sub-stadiums where youth can play football.
For Mr. Sidibeh, the government should ensure the youth have proper football, basketball and volleyball pitches in the region.
At least a total of 98 people from the community of Sare Giddeh village, in the Wulli East District of the Upper River Region (URR) are currently homeless as fire ravaged six compounds in the village.
The Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, together with stakeholders such as Afrique Pesage, Department of Lands and Survey, Department of Physical Planning and Housing and The General Transport Union recently conducted a two-day joint survey from across the length and breadth of the country.
The president of the Gambia Transport Union, Omar Ceesay, has called on the government to provide standard garages for commercial vehicles.