President Jammeh Addresses the National Assembly

By Muhammad Bah
President Yahya Jammeh on Friday 27th February 2015 addressed theYaya Jammeh
National Assembly during which he outlined government plans and
policies for the year.
This is in line with the constitution which states that, “The
President shall at least once in each year attend a sitting of theNational Assembly and address a session on the condition of The
Gambia, the policies of the Government and the administration of the
State.”
The occasion was held at the new National Assembly building situated
at the entrance of Banjul. It was graced by Cabinet Ministers, Members
of the Bench and Bar, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Public and
Private Companies, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,
Regional Governors, Mayors, Chiefs and Alkalos, Religious Leaders and
others.
In his remarks, President Jammeh said his Government values the
legislature as an important arm of Government in the dispensation of
democracy. He said the laws that ensure stability, peace, prosperity
and equality in the country as well as the financing of the activities
of the state all emanate from this arm of Government.
He asserted that in fulfillment of his promise when he came to power
in 1994 his government has developed and transformed this country from
a relatively low level of socio-economic development to a level that
“has positively permeated the lives of all Gambians regardless of
origin.” He added: “We are slowly but surely marching towards vision
2016, 2020 and 2025”.
He however acknowledged that for The Gambia to become “a middle income
country in 2020 and an economic superpower by 2025,” it must attain
and sustain “double-digit growth.” Further down the line he pointed
out that the country’s economy has grappled with “unprecedented
macroeconomic challenges,” including a high debt burden exogenous
shock in the last four years. The president however mentioned that
the economy was driven by strong tourism activities especially in
2013/2014 and a continued recovery in agriculture from the disastrous
effects of the 2011 drought. He informs that in 2014 the positive
growth declined due to Ebola outbreak in West Africa which resulted in
15% drop in over all crop production. He adds that the overall impact
is expected to be a Real GDP decline of ¾ percent in 2014 and “damped
recovery” in 2015 affecting the government budget, trade, balance of
payments and the banking system.
However, he asserted: “Despite the shocks the economy showed
resilience and registered growth of 2%. This demonstrates soundness to
the macroeconomic policies we pursue and strict adherence of spending
within limits of the budget. In this year 2015 we are poised to return
to strong growth of at least 6% with that the 2015 budget reflects a
clear need to contain challenges posed by the debt burden and steer
the budget towards long-term fiscal sustainability. Government will
continue implementing policies that support fiscal prudence and
discipline using a combination of revenue and expenditure measures
with the objective of lowering net domestic borrowing to 1% of GDP in
2015. Addressing the fiscal imbalance will help curtail the growth of
public debt thereby leading to a reduction in inflationary and
exchange rate pressures”.
He promised that the consumer protection tribunals under the Consumer
Protection Act 2014 shall be setup in 2015. He informed the Assembly
that the rent tribunals have been restructured and brought under the
judiciary.
In a bid to institutionalize the fight against corruption, an
Anti-Corruption Commission Act was enacted into law in 2012. The
president said significant progress has been made to ensure that the
commission is fully functional. It is expected that in 2015 all the 7
commissioners and Executive Secretary will be appointed to commence
operations.
Read subsequent editions of Foroyaa for the serialisation of the full
speech of the president’s srarement.