By Nyang Njie
Time and tide waits for no man and time is really of the essence. Fundamentally, we are all aware of the fact that policy, especially economic policy, has a lag effect. This implies that there is a difference in time between a prescription of a policy pronouncement and the efficacy of the same policy. That said, this government must attack the economic reform agenda head on so that the average Gambian in the streets will start feeling the expected change of #NewGambia in their wallets.
Few months ago, Gambians were jubilating the reduction of fare tariffs for commuters. Some of us raised objections to such a policy decision as transportation is not a regulated sector and market forces should dictate where equilibrium falls in terms of pricing. Fast forward to 4th October 2017, the same Ministry of Finance announcing a hike at the pump for petroleum products. This in effect has created a mix signal in the market thereby creating a price distortion. Politics and economic policy must have a buffer.
What is politically expedient may not be economically prudent. Case in point is the short-lived fare reduction that will revert to market forces. A market needs predictably for it to be efficient. Let us leave the market to self regulate.
When Gambians voted for change in December, they in effect entered into a socio-economic contract with the Coalition particularly His Excellency President Adama Barrow. I am quite sure that most will argue that we need to give him more time. Personally, I beg to differ from this proposition because I have a minimum expectation that has to be met much sooner. Our beloved Gambia profusely bled due to the greed of the unconscionable kleptocratic maniacal butcher of Kanilai.
Reform, reform, reform! These were the buzz words of the election promises sold to us by the Coalition. We the people of The Gambia decided to throw our weight behind the value proposition presented to us. Well, the time has come to ask for what was promised as the economic transformation process is a key priority intervention area with or without a blueprint.
Having said the above, Gambians expect more probity and transparency in our procurement processes especially with these rag-tag foreign hustlers shuttling in and out of the country. We want to remind the politicians and their cronies that the going concern called The Gambia is not up for sale nor is it a pie to be shared by a selected few. The interest of our dearly beloved Gambia must be taken seriously because Karamo of Sutu Sinjang and Kaddy Jammeh of Illiassa are equally as important as the crony capitalists who a year ago was idly sitting by doing nothing. We bargained for a deal and surely it was not a raw deal.
Your Excellency, it is international best practice the world over to streamline government by reducing the bureaucracy. Your appointment of ambassadors-at-large negate this core principle of the #NewPublicManagementApproach. To make matters worse, some of these ambassadors-at-large are either oblivious of their roles as mere salesmen of #BrandGambia or they just perplexed with the designated job handed down to them.
It is not their responsibility to close deals once they make a pitch and this is creating a blurred relationship between the technocrats and the political appointees. They should not interface with any permanent secretary because they are answerable to you and you alone. The transformation of this country should be taken seriously if we want to register meaningful economic gains. The emergence of cronyism and interlocutors/ lobbyist/influence peddlers must cease and desist.
The business of governing is not a market activity but rather a concerted effort to benefit the greater good. The idea of having an investment outfit at the presidency once again is in clear collusion course with the mandate proffered to GIEPA by law. Let’s strengthen our institutions not weaken them. Indeed #GambiaOpenForBusiness is a serious proposition but it needs competent Gambians to pick the grain from the chaff by weeding out the cowboy investor class who are banking on our naivety to make money.
Finally, Your Excellency, change starts with making a radical shift in paradigm for the better. The fall is in season and leaves are abound polluting our streets and corridors of power. By the powers vested in you via proxy and trusteeship by we the people, we want you to exercise your powers by cleaning house. Fatou Touray of Ballanghar has made a deposit by voting you in and she was not told of a grace period prior to her vote. Mr President, rock the system before it degenerates into a #Shitstem. God bless Gambia and let’s fight collectively against #CronyCapitalism and #InfluencePeddling.
For the Gambia, I remain ever true.