President Barrow delegated the Vice President to visit the victims of the recent windstorms disaster in the CRR and URR over the weekend to show solidarity with the victims. It was reported that during a rapid appraisal of the situation, the NDMA has done its initial assessment of the destruction to prepare a relief plan. It was reported that 600 properties have been affected in the URR alone. The President has made a personal donation of 1000 bags of rice, worth over a million Dalasi to be distributed to the victims. Efforts are being made to mobilize D35 million as estimated amount required to provide relief.
Ministry Women, Children and Social Affairs
In a separate engagement, the President has been briefed about the first Africa Summit on FGM and Child marriage. He delegated the Vice President to attend the Summit in Dakar. She was accompanied by the Minister of Women’s Affairs and representatives from the civil society. The aim is to reinforce the laws to protect girls from the FGM and child marriage in Africa.
The briefing he had on tourism included the National Conference on tourism aimed to strengthen understanding and cooperation amongst stakeholders to review the potentials and challenges in the sector, with the view to improve the sector.
On Land and Regional Government
The President assures his government’s support to local councils and municipalities as part of its decentralization policy.
He encourages cordial partnership between the line ministries and the councils to follow all procedures that will ensure accountability and transparency in serving the public interest.
His office will continue to encourage autonomy of state and public institutions, while monitoring their performances in public service through the line ministries.
France supports the security sector reform programme with capacity building to strengthen law and order in the new democracy.
The President calls on all citizens to respect the rule of law in exercising their civil rights and to be aware that any measure taken by his government would be to ensure the security of the public and properties.
On Finance and Economic Affairs
President Barrow was pleased to witness the signing of the $92.5M support for infrastructural development in preparation for the hosting of the 2022 OIC Summit in The Gambia. Already, the process for the bidding has commenced for the construction of a 50 KM road, enhancement of electricity and water supply for the Greater Banjul and the construction of the VVIP lounge at the Airport.
The desire to transform The Gambia into a digital nation and modern information society is part of National Development Plan 2018 – 2021. Extension of our national fibre infrastructure is towards the realization of that quest. MOICI launched the $25million project on ICT. The loan was secured from People Republic of China during the President’s visit in December 2017. This will strengthen the national broadband network to promote services for socio-economic growth.
As part of government’s policy direction, the internet wholesale pricing was reduced by more than 50% in 2018 for the Operators and ISPs, thereby promoting businesses and entrepreneurs.
Justice and rule of law
The Committee looking into the Faraba Banta Commission’s report has accepted compensation of One Million Gambian Dalasis to each of the three families who lost their loved ones during the unfortunate incident last year. The Committee is also reviewing the cases of those whose properties were damaged and the injured to determine appropriate compensation.
Office of the President
As part of his engagements, the President continues consultations, diplomacy and monitoring of development programmes in the country to ensure that government delivers on its promise of good governance, institutional strengthening, freedom and respect for the rule of law as the country undertakes its reform programme for sustainable national development.
To enhance coordination in the Civil Service, The Department of Strategic Planning and Delivery at the Office of the President continues to coordinate and monitor policies. The government ministries took part in a three days’ retreat at Tendaba Camp to follow up on progress of work towards the year 2019 priorities. The retreat avails the ministries to present the progress of work towards the implementation of the NDP 2018-2021. They also used the opportunity to review the challenges and the way forward.
Also, twenty-five Senior Civil Servants comprising of Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries have attended a two-week capacity building training in India. The aimed is to enhance their capacity in Administration, rules of government, Cabinet procedures, diplomacy, and elections process management, amongst others. The training is supported and funded by the government of India as part of the on-going Civil Service reform programme.
On diplomacy, this week the President was scheduled to meet outgoing Diplomats, Excellencies Christophe Bigot of France, Lise Filiatrault of Canada, and Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, FAO representative in the Gambia. Their meetings focus on the ties with The Gambia, the support to the NDP during the transition and pledges to continue to stand by The Gambia in nurturing its young democracy.
On Regional Integration, the President will attend the 55th Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government Summit in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria. He will travel tomorrow 28th June 2019 to attend the summit. The Summit will promote peace and stability, economic growth as well as nurture democratic values in the sub-region.