In his first appearance before the country’s lawmakers yesterday President Adama Barrow took a little over an hour to outline his government’s policies and programmes for the new legislative session of the National Assembly.
The President touched all areas. Some of the main points raised included energy, adding that fixing the “continuous energy problem as well as the broken economy, unify the nation, improve health and agricultural sub-sectors, ending the country’s isolation and introducing a robust institutional, electoral and constitutional reforms are very much in line with the new democratic principles that will respond to the realities of our time”.
On foreign policy The Gambian leader thanked the international community to which he said the country is indebted for standing by the country in recent months.
“As mentioned earlier, we are indebted to ECOWAS, the AU, the UN, the EU, the World Bank, the IMF and other international partners for their support,” he said.
Speaking about Justice President Barrow said government has released over 500 prisoners to decongest prisons by releasing political and other deserving reformed prisoners.
On security he said that The Gambia has faced significant security challenges following the fall of the autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh and currently the country’s security installations are being secured by the regional troops.
Barrow paid tribute to the ECOWAS Mission in the country saying they were “instrumental in helping to secure our democratic transition”.
“The government is working on reforming the security sector which is closely linked to the delivery of justice and the restoration of our free and fair democracy,” he added.
Barrow said since his coming into power, he has established a panel that reviews wrongful dismissals, which has cleared over 100 employees, allowing them to be reinstated.
The President further said that the Gambia’s civil service has expanded by over 40 percent since 2007 almost half of the government budget is spent on civil service wages and benefits.
He said he has ordered for a staff audit of country’s public service with the objectives of identifying and eliminating ghost workers.
Read the president’s full statement on Pages 5&6.