Halifa Sallah’s New Year Message
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
The low productive base creates a narrow tax base. Consequently budget deficits are experienced annually thus leading to domestic borrowing which stood at 7 billion dalasis as of January 2010.
This is why the banking system is lending more to government than the productive base of the economy. In order to pay these loans the government has to impose more tax on the overtaxed population and corporations and undermine the growth of the income of both. This reduces private sector investment and increases poverty.
PDOIS has made it very clear that if the productive base of the economy is to be built and the income of the people increased then the four sectors must develop in a holistic manner. We will ensure that the Government borrows less from the domestic banking system so that their money will go to the private sector for investment in areas where it has comparative advantages under the present international economy.
The informal sector would be expanded by complementing the weekly markets into annual or semi annual fares to develop the economics of scale and provide a base for the infrastructural development of villages into small towns.
The Corporative sector would be developed by giving support to village farms and enterprises whose income would be utilised to provide milling machines, solar energy to power pumps, provide nursery facilities and other social services,
Finally the public sector will be made productive so that it pays dividend to the national budget. This will come from public enterprises and joint public/private initiatives in mining, oil production and other sources of sovereign National wealth. This will enable the country to earn income without increasing the tax burden on the population
It is therefore very clear that PDOIS has a realistic way forward to eradicate poverty, facilitate infrastructural development, improve general welfare and remove Gambia from the camp of the least developed and highly Indebted poor countries.
PDOIS supporters should therefore take up the challenge against those who refer to PDOIS as a party of Ideologues. They should explain what our concrete policies are so that the people do understand that we have answers to their problems
Culture is a way of life of a people. If culture in the Gambia is viewed from a religious point of view one would note that there are Muslim and Christian ways of life and those of others who subscribe to traditional religions. If looked at from an ethno-linguistic angle one would discover diversities in issues of birth, puberty, marriage and death. However, if we look at Culture from the angle of the Republic it would become clear that all Gambians irrespective of religion, ethno-linguistic origin, gender or other characteristics share the culture of the sovereignty of the people, a culture which empowers all Gambians to be the depository of the sovereignty of the Republic and should not accept any way of life which makes them slaves or subjects to others. This is the culture that PDOIS is committed to propagate. We shall ensure that all tools of raising awareness such as literature, music, painting and drama will be utilised to reinforce the dignity and self worth of the sovereign Gambian.
Sub –Regional And Regional Integration
It is evident that a self reliant economy which could reinforce the right to self determination and Independence could only be created if an economy produces raw materials, Process raw materials into value added goods and produce the machines which do the processing. In Africa this could be possible if there is Sub Regional and Regional Integration. PDOIS is therefore committed to such integration. Suffice it to say that such integration would be facilitated by ensuring the sovereignty of the people in every country. PDOIS is committed to the establishment of standards of best practice in the Sub-Region and Region, in the area of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that reinforce the sovereignty of our people and their collective supremacy over all governments and state authority. We do not agree that Integration goes with subsidiarity; on the contrary, we conceive it to be a manifestation of enlarged sovereignty. PDOIS stands for African unity to promote the collective sovereignty of the African people.
This is why it is legitimate for countries like Cote d’Ivoire to be guided to ensure that the will of the majority prevails. Africa must first help to resolve the constitutional and Institutional crises in Cote d’Ivoire. Both Gbagbo and Ouattara should abrogate their swearing in as President. The faults of the Constitutional Council should be clearly explained to the Ivorian people and the council reconstituted. The results should be handed over to the Council and the winner declared accordingly. All sides will enter into agreement to make the ECOWAS Court as the final authority to determine the Constitutionality of declaring who should become President.
In the case of Guinea Conakry, it should be clear that a Sovereign Guinean Republic exists but a sovereign Guinean people who are above ethno-linguistic, religious and other considerations is yet to be in existence. The current Government has the primary task to involve the Guinean people to create and take ownership of the Constitutional instruments and the institutions that will empower each of them to be sovereign. It is the same task that will fall in the hands of the new leader of Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia and all other states we refer to as ungovernable states where authority to lead is still contested.
This is the era of the sovereignty of the people and not the era of monarchs and autocrats. The quicker this is realised and assured in practice the sooner Africa will put war and poverty behind us.
A new International World order is demanding to be created but leaders in many parts of the world are refusing to acknowledge the demand. No country will be without storm and stress until it addresses the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of their citizenry. This is the demand of the twenty first century and it is irrevocable. Leftists and rightists cannot make any claim that is relevant if they cannot succeed in addressing the core rights to ensure the liberty and prosperity of peoples all over the world.
Notwithstanding this, PDOIS recognises that we have greater possibility of maintaining International peace as Countries grapple with the core rights. The fact that interests of Countries like USA; CHINA; RUSSIA and the European Union are now mixed economically calls for peaceful coexistence of countries.
It is now clear that smaller countries are freer to control their destiny if they focus their resources on the satisfaction of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of their citizenry and forming regional blocs of such countries to consolidate the collective rights of the peoples. This is how big nations would be shamed to move in the same direction with their huge technological base and accumulation of the wealth of the world.
States armed with sophisticated weapons cannot be threatened by wasting resources on arms by those that are yet to build nuclear weapons. North Korea is a clear example. Its nuclear programme has not saved it from being under greater pressure. Instead of pursing a programme of unifying the two Koreas which would have guaranteed it greater security and enable them to use the resources to uplift the Conditions of the people its armed actions have in fact consolidated a new defence pact including USA; South Korea and Japan and isolate it also from China. The road to peace and security is to focus resources and efforts to ensure the protection and enlargement of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the people of all countries.
In our view, it is people who make wars possible. It is people who become suicide bombers. No person with hope will be a suicide bomber. Hence it is our duty to end the hopelessness in the world to eradicate the army of suicide bombers no mater what ideology or religion they claim to subscribe to. Military might only increases a sense of hopelessness. The language of world leaders should change and be modified to suit the interest and aspirations of the people of all countries in order to break the back of Narrow Nationalism and National Chauvinism.
In order to assist countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and other troubled spots all leaders must be required to develop a transitional programme that would require the involvement of the people in building constitutions and institutions which can have impact in the smallest hamlet and make each to realise that one is sovereign and one´s vote counts in bringing security, liberty and development. This is the cornerstone of international peace and security in the 21st Century that PDOIS subscribes to.
We therefore call on all Gambians to be ready to make this small Nation in 2011 an example for others to follow. We could only do so if each of us take himself or herself as a sovereign person who is always ready to select a government that will promote the civil political, economic, social and cultural rights of all sovereign Gambians. The voter’s card is power which speaks. Those who sell it have sold themselves to slavery and become powerless and voiceless. Those who give it away become subjects. Those who entrust it to those they monitor and control to serve them will have their liberty, dignity and prosperity guaranteed. This is the task before all sovereign Gambians, Africans and Humanity at large. The future of the country is in our sovereign Hands. Time will tell what type of life we wish for our children and our children’s children.
Issued By Halifa Sallah
Author: Halifa Sallah