GMC Commends Gambia on Trans-Gambia Bridge
Monday, August 13, 2012
The trans-Gambia bridge and associated projects would be a great achievement for The Gambia and Senegal in its impact on security, communication, trade and poverty. We commend The Gambia Government in concluding such a very important regional project, and offer our support to the Government in seeing the project to its successful implementation. This significant development project, if ignored by the regime would have been negotiated and concluded by a future GMC government, and undoubtedly this is one of the few areas where we share policy convergence with the APRC administration. In supporting and commending the APRC administration for finally submitting after years of pointless brinkmanship had collapsed under persistent pressure from former President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade, GMC is ready to coordinate efforts with the government in fighting poverty, crime and impunity.
GMC will continue to support government’s efforts in the proper implementation of genuine poverty alleviation programs devoid of political manipulations. This is because we believe that this particular project has the potential to facilitate economic growth, expand business opportunities for the private sector and reduce poverty. Past poverty alleviation programmes failed largely due to excessive political interference, absence of comprehensive policy framework, poor coordination and the lack of sustainability mechanisms in programs and projects. However, the very low productivity of the private sector and lack of diversification of the economy are due mainly to uncertain and inhospitable economic environment due to perceptions of risks, despite the mantra on ‘the creation of enabling environment by government’. The economy remains in a low savings investment equilibrium.
With industrialisation and exports almost zero, The Gambia is far below the minimum investment required to unleash poverty. The Gambia has lost its market share even in our traditional export - groundnut. As a Party, we believe government needs to do more in confronting factors that created perverse incentives, inefficiencies and waste. Many of these problems are institutional. Others reflect the fact that the means are inadequate to achieve the goals. They require significant reforms be introduced. The challenge is not only to reform the economy in other to boost economic growth but also to empower the people as a means of revitalising the weakened social pillar. We believe that doing so requires a human rights approach to development planning that places people at the center of development efforts. We see an alignment between such a goal and the bridge project. The value provided by this approach is that the norms and values enshrined in it have the potential to empower the poor. This is important because it is now widely recognised that effective poverty reduction is not possible without doing so.
We would like to commend the African Development Bank for the funding. Lastly as this historic project kicks off, we shall closely monitor related issues such as the integrity of the procurement and tender processes.
Author: Mai Ahmad Fatty GMC Party Leader 13th August 2012