Over the years, the debate over the attitude of regulators as it concerns the ease of doing business in The Gambia has never been as contentious as it is today. Whatever the motive, ease of doing business is essential for economic growth. It is true that government has created the environment for businesses to thrive in this country but some of the polices have effectively succeeded in restricting or hindering innovation, investment opportunities and growth of our economy. This is to say, amid all the rhetoric, of allowing organisations the enabling environment to thrive and in return grow the economy, a lot of regulatory authorities knowingly and unknowingly stifle it. They say they want more growth and innovation but at the same time, they seem to operate by a set of hidden principles designed to prevent innovations from surfacing or succeeding. Such a scenario most importantly brings about a static economy where bureaucrats dictate the pace of growth of an economy or outright retard the process.
Meanwhile, let me state here that a country that prioritises the ease of doing business is almost on a sacred quest for the solution that will create growth, and open new eras of prosperity and wellbeing. As a concerned citizen, it is important for me to lend my voice on the need for government and other relevant authorities to support and encourage companies with huge investment appetite rather than stifle them with overbearing policies that will hinder industrial growth. One thing they need to deal with is regulatory rascality.
This is a situation where regulation takes the law in its hands rather than follow due process. It is the key factor that negatively affects inflow of foreign direct investments. Many a time, it unknowingly hinders investment inflows, for fear of losing domestic management control. The Gambia needs to do more to make its economy attractive to foreign investors and catch up with other developing countries, despite the improvement recorded.
Therefore, all stakeholders must show seriousness in improving conditions for businesses to thrive in this country. There has been a lot that has been done as a way of attracting foreign direct investment but more needs to be done. That said, it is a collective responsibility for us all to contribute to the growth of our economy. We need our economy to grow because it is only through this that we will be able to create jobs, reduce poverty to so base a level and electrify development on all fronts. Concern about loss of management control is of much less important compared to sacrifice of economic growth. Considering the potential of foreign direct investment to drive growth, for a regulator to be unnecessarily harsh on businesses is a misplaced priority.
Thumbs up to the AFPRC General Hospital
Please permit space to commend the effort of the AFPRC General Hospital in Farafenni and the achievements it has registered in the past few years. A pointer to this is contained in a report it presented to the public accounts and public enterprises committee of the National Assembly recently. The report indicates tremendous gains by the APRC government installed hospital.
The report said of some of the gains: “From January 1 to December 31, 2012, a total of 3,312 patients were admitted of which 80 percent were successfully managed and discharged home alive. Children and pregnant women accounted for the most cases admitted. In the year 2012, a total of 28,730 outpatient department cases were attended to, of which 62 percent were people below 15 years of age. In the same period, the hospital sent out a total of 273 patients to the main referral hospital in Banjul for further management.
“In 2012, 313 surgical operations were performed compared to 205 in 2011, which indicates an increase of 52.7 percent. Eye surgery accounted for the highest in 2012 with 183 cases, followed by caesarean section with 175 – an increase of 58 percent from 2011. Equally, both the number of institutional deliveries and multiple births increased substantially between 2011 and 2012. The number of deliveries increased by 24 percent, from 1,574 in 2011 to 1,954 in 2012 and multiple births increased by 58.8 percent, from 34 in 2011 to 54 sets of twins in 2012.
“Institutionally, maternal mortality ratio significantly reduced between 2011 and 2012 with a reduction of 38 percent in one calendar year. The dental clinic attendance has also increased from 2,008 in 2011 to 2,584 in 2012, with an increase of 29 percent. However, the number of X-ray screening reduced by 53 percent from 2,454 in 2011 to 1,114 in 2012.”
I strongly believe that these achievements are good indicators of the attention that has been given to the healthcare sector by government. It is therefore imperative now for all to join hands with government to deliver greater dividends in the sector. Indeed these achievements are worthy of commendation.