As we approach December elections, Gambians will have to examine the state of the nation and their own status in development. Is the nation in a good state or bad state? Have people realized any meaningful improvements in their lives during the past five years?
Some argue that the performance of the government in socioeconomic development has been poor and that most Gambians are poor and hungry. Others said government has brought infrastructural development in some areas of the country. Government has ensured democratic governance in the country; however, it failed in the effective implementation of the transitional programs.
The nation is now left wondering what next without visible answers. “A nation is at risk if it cannot think,” said Honorable HalifaSallah in his recent coalition debate with Dr. IsmailaCeesay. It is time for us as Gambians to think hard about the leadership that will advance the country into the 21st Century.
This calls for generational thinkers who will see country first before self-interest. Generational thinkers who will build roads with provisions for vehicles and provisions for motorbikes and bicycles. Generational thinkers who will reserve land for future generations, markets, car parks, institutions, agriculture and so on. Generational thinkers who will ensure a fair balance in representations in public offices. Generational thinkers who will stop corruption and the looting of national wealth and resources. Generational thinkers who will introduce and enforce a minimum wage law that is commensurate with the cost of living in the country. Generational thinkers who will defend the sovereignty of the country and protect the freedoms and liberties of the people. Generational thinkers who will use state intervention in full scale, commercialize agriculture to ensure food security and give rise to an exports-oriented economy. Generational thinkers who will reflect on the diaspora and their needs because of their significant contributions to the Gambian economy. Generational thinkers who will depoliticize the civil and public service to ensure loyalty to the country and neutrality in service delivery. Generational thinkers who will engage the country in economic diplomacy to bring positive outcomes for the country.Generational thinkers who will ensure that all foreigners regardless of country of origin residing in the country pay residential and alien fees to the state to compensate for increased pressures on social services and accommodation. Generational thinkers who will use their experiences and exposures abroad to replicate positive development in the country. Generational thinkers should know that it is the private sector that allows people to grow, and that it is not the role of the government to provide for all employment.
All politicians have visionary plans for employment but have no solutions to making it happen. Youth unemployment is on the agendas of all presidential aspirants. Once they are in power the vision disappears with no fixed solutions to the problems of unemployment. The government depends more on donor handouts to create employment for young people. Generational thinkers will utilize the national wealth in the private sector for job creation. In this regard, it makes sense for government to give special tax concessions and grants from donor interventions to private sector companies such as TAF AFRICA GLOBAL, THE Q GROUP, GAI CONSTRUCTION, INNOVARX GLOBAL HEALTH, JAH OIL, GNPC, etc. that have the capacity to train and employ more Gambians.A new policy initiative in this drive will create jobs for youths. It is important for sustainable development to work on this plan of action.
In another vein, if one thousand youths were to be mobilized to contribute one thousand dalasis each, that can generate one million dalasis and they can start a bakery project. Private sector players engaged in rice production could be empowered by the government to create employment for the youths.
With generational thinkers in power, we can see rapid and sustainable development. It is time for elevated consciousness in leadership and policy frameworks to move the country on the right path to prosperity.
By: D.M. Badjie