Article from: The Daily Observer – Gambia
The Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh Babili Mansa has said that it would not be business as usual anymore as far as agricultural development in The Gambia is concern.
He expressed with utmost concern the poor performance of the multi-million dollar agriculture projects that have likely fail to sustainably uplift the agriculture sector.
He said that he will not allow a few individual to hold the country’s development to a ransom, “Imagine 7 million US dollars for just one tone of rice what type of rice are we talking about. These atrocities is being committed by we Gambians against our own people, if we do our work well, honestly and fearing Allah, this country would have been self-sufficient by now in food production,” he said.
The president was speaking at State House in Banjul on Wednesday evening during a meeting with the top echelon of the Ministry of Agriculture and its satellite departments to advice and as well as warn the officials on the overall attainment of the development target.
“I called you for a family meeting and I am going to advice you and as well warn you,’ he said, noting all of them have a role to play in the development of this country and as well has a stake in the socio-economic development of this country, whether they are paid for it or they are on their own, in their own private capacities as individuals, as a country or as a society.
According to him, there is no way the country can be independent, and prosperous without people been well fed and as well there is no way they can be pious and pray to the Almighty Allah in the correct way without agriculture in this country.
There, the president went on to affirm that agriculture is the oxygen of every individual in this country and it is one sector that he would not going to joke with.
“As from today I have taken full control of agriculture, I am the Minister of Agriculture and am going to appoint a deputy. So business as usual is history, we are crying for funds only to realized that there are funds sitting down there underutilize in projects,” he told the meeting.
President Jammeh cited projects, such as Nema, GCAV and FASDEP, which are fully funded and are not been utilise. He said the funds must be utilized for what they have been gotten for.
A project is vibrant, people are enjoying it and as soon as the funding ends that is the end of the project and it dries up, then the fields lie fallow and eventually be turns into a jungle until another project comes in and we land develop the same areas.
“From today change your ways, if you are a project manager do your work, gone are the days when you will duplicate one field for two projects and when they come to assess because they come at a different time you send them to the same field and you have a very good track record,” he concluded.
The president remarks were ensued by contributions from ministers of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, Transport, Works and Infrastructure and Basic and Secondary Education, Abdul Jobe, Bala Garba Jahumpa and Fatou Lamin Faye respectively.
The secretary general and head of Civil Service, Lamin Nyabally who doubles as minister responsible for Presidential Affairs chaired the ceremony. “We are very grateful to you for this audience and we are also very grateful for the direction and encouragement you continue to give to agriculture in dispensation of their duties.”
SG Nyabally thanked the president for given them this opportunity, while praying for him to continue to steer the affairs of this country to higher height.
The vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, cabinet ministers, directors and project managers amongst host of other senior government officials, attended the meeting.
by Musa Ndow