President Barrow Takes His National Development Plan To The People

President Adama Barrow’s just concluded tour dubbed ‘Connecting with the Peoples Tour’ has been highlighted with strong promises for social and economic development.

President Barrow announced that he intends to implement over forty projects. Strikingly enough was his revelation in lower Niumi where he said that the foundation stone for a bridge linking Banjul and Barra will be laid in 2019 and that it will take four years to complete. The President said that discussions for this project had reached advanced stage. Good news! But the President however the President did not reveal the parties to the discussion and the source of funding. The new dispensation promises transparency and accountability and if such a revelation is made, then the government knows for sure where the funding is coming from.

The President promised the people of URR a mega agricultural project and noted that the mixed farming centers are part of his NDP to empower the youths into agro business and entrepreneurship. President Barrow also revealed plans for a $100 Million road and bridge construction projects for Basse-Fatoto-Koina Highway and the bridges Basse-Wulli and Fatoto-Passamance crossing points. These projects according to President Barrow are expected to commence in 2018.

The projects that President Barrow has been harping upon may well be said to be Government’s National Development Plan (2018 – 2021) whose total gross budget without accounting for available resources stands at $2.4 billion. Government has identified flagships and priority projects for implementing the plan. The total cost of these flagships and priority projects, after accounting for committed resources is $US 1.6 billion, of which $US 157 (9 per cent) is expected to be government contribution, $US 1.0 billion (62 per cent) from ODA and $US 471 (29 per cent) from private sector investments. At the European Commission conference on the Gambia held in Brussels in May, the commission committed itself to increased financial assistance for development to The Gambia and made a €1.45 billion pledge to help cover needs identified for donor support to The Gambia’s National Development Plan.

In lieu of this President Barrow has assurances that his 4 year development plan is bound to succeed.

 CONCERNS HANGING IN THE AIR.

From The President’s pronouncements regarding his 4 year development plan, has he implied that his term in office will be 5 years and that the Coalition 2016 Agreement will not hold water?

Did we hear the President say he will construct 60 mosques in the country? If that is so then how many churches to maintain the balance in the secularity of the nation as enshrined in the constitution. The president whilst speaking in Bwiam, FoniKansala, called on those he termed detractors and hate mongers, who are  determined to sow the seeds of religious discord and conflict about twisting his comments on the Issue. In the first place the construction of the 60 mosques should not have surfaced let alone tying it with the development agenda of the Barrow Youths for Development.

People at the Presidents meetings have raised concerns that there are more pressing needs requiring  immediate solutions. These include fertilizers, seeds, farm implements, labour saving devices, good roads, hospitals and youth empowerment. These are perennial problems dating far back to the First Republic and continue to haunt them

continue to haunt them to date. There were repeated calls for Governments swift intervention in agriculture particularly with fertilizers. The issue of the price of crops after harvest seems to have eluded both the President and his able Minister for Agriculture. Or is it too early?

President Adama Barrow promised the people of Jarra and Kiang in the Lower River Region (LRR), that they will be the first to benefit from the implementation of the government’s power roadmap developed a year ago. He  revealed this recently at a meeting held at Jarra Soma, LRR.

The president explained that the country has also secured a $200million power transmission and distribution funding through the said roadmap, with the objective of countrywide electrification programme. “Work has begun on the OMVG Hydro-electric power generation, which will set up a station in Soma. This will greatly boost the current national capacity that enables Kombo and Farafenni to enjoy 24 hours power supply; while Basse also enjoys 20 hours today,” he told the meeting.

President Barrow has also outlined government’s communications and digital policy plan of the government which is aimed at connecting The Gambia to the world’s digital economy. This was disclosed in Brikama with promises of government’s plan to roll out a new street lightening project that would provide 5,000 street lights across the country as well as provide easy internet connectivity for Gambians. Each of these street lights, according to him, would be fitted with a 24-hour CCTV surveillance camera and wireless internet hotspot for the use of the public.

In Gunjur President Barrow made a detour in his development agenda pronouncements and went to town against those he termed as would be protesters bent on destabilizing the country. He called on them to be mindful of certain politicians masking under the veil of democracy to quench their egoistic thirst.

At a meeting in Wellingara, President Barrow revealed that the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) has signed a 22 million dalasi project to put an end to water scarcity in the country. The Minister of Basic and Secondary Education Claudia Cole made promises for the construction of a new Senior School in Wellingara if the people of the area provided the land. The Minister of Health and Social Welfare Dr.IsatouTouray promised the SinchuBaliya Minor Health facility with an ambulance.

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