By Ebrima Tabora Manneh, leader People’s Alliance Party- PAP
A few weeks ago we were all hyped-up about the political situation in the country with some Gambians of Kabunka and Fulani extraction/lineage looking forward to the reincarnation of Mama Jankey Wally of Gabu Kansala in our little Gambia so that the epic war of Gabu, which supposedly ended in a stalemate, can be reactivated for the whole world to finally know who are and/or were the victors.
I know the thought of a Niancho Mansa in The Gambia is highly welcomed by all but my smart Fulani brethrens in Basse and Jarra have succeeded in convincing me and my fellow Korings and Nianchos of Niumi, Foni and Kombo to defer the battle to a future date but they challenged me and my party-to-be (PAP for People’s Alliance Party) to proof our much talked about Gambia’s regional development plan of investing GMD 100 million in each of the seven regions and how we can make 5 Gambian millionaires annually.
An old kabunka man called Arfang Sanneh counseled us that when we mentioned war and money the Fulanis opted for the latter and that they are planning to know how to make a fortune out of the millions whilst we (Kabunkas and Korings) busied ourselves preparing for a war that never ever will be. As I mulled over the old man’s words of wisdom my Fulani brethren especially the Yetteh Jallows and Bahs were all over me like electrons challenging me to say the source of the GMD 100 million for each of the seven regions and which 5 Gambians we planned to make millionaires in 2022 and of course thereafter.
Without much thought; I tried to pull a fast one on my Fulla kin by telling them that we could not implement our much touted regional economic plan to spur both employment and economic growth nationwide because we have not been entrusted with administering the affairs of The Gambia and thus our dream and plan has been deferred to 2026. But one Alpha Yaya Jallow (perhaps related to the former ruler of Labe – Alpha Ebrahima Jallow – during the era of Mama Jankey Wally) managed to convince me that all the “Fullas” were going to vote for this Kaabunka (who is also related to Mama Jankey Wally) and thus I owed them an obligation to share our regional employment and economic plan so that the whole country including Kabunkas and “Fullas” can benefit from it. I could not wiggle my way out because he came with tales of Kabunka nobility and how they were made to believe that real “Nyanchos” and “Korings” always keep their promises.
Spellbound and convinced, I pulled out The Gambia’s budget appropriation report for 2022 and pulled a yellow notepad with the following scribbles: “A modest proposal – 4% budget cut/ savings for employment creation and regional economic growth.” To Alpha Jallow, I said, our government (PAP) would have introduced serious budgetary belt-tightening, financial discipline and economic prudence such that we will insist on a 4% budget cut across the budget lines or a higher percentage budget cut against selected budget lines and the savings will be the initial source of funds which will be about 947 million Dalasis more than the 700 million Dalasis we proposed for regional growth and employment creation.
My Fulla brother wants this to be simplified for him so that the average Gambian can make sense of our proposal especially the likes of those who have no formal western education. To Mr. Jallow I said God has ordained believers of the Muslim faith who are well off to give 2.5% of their wealth as Zakat; so we would have made an iron-clad decision of 4% budget cut and the resultant savings of GMD 947 million would be used very judiciously for the empowerment of Gambians and the creation of meaningful employment and economic growth.
The savings from the budget cut would have been allocated to a new agency to be named “Regional Development and Employment Agency” which will also be a new budget line and this department will work with the Members of Parliament, the Governors, Mayors, Chair(wo)men and councilors to ensure that the funds are soundly allocated and invested in all the 7 regions were they will have maximum impact in the generation of meaningful and sustainable employment for Gambians and economic growth.
Below is the impact of the 4% budget cut proposal on the 2022 budget
This new department – Regional Development and Employment Agency – will be tasked with identifying serious, honest, experienced and competent Gambians who will be supported in their respective businesses, industries and lines of work to ensure that within a very short timeframe Gambians will be the key players in the econonmic and business sectors in all the regions across the whole country.
This, proposal, is just the tip of the iceberg in ways and means to raise funds for economic development, the empowerment of Gambians and uplifting our citizenry from dire poverty and its attendant vices of financial, political and tribal insecurity. We invoke the Gambian spirit in all citizens to promote our shared dream of making tribal insecurity nigh zero in The Gambia in 100 days and our – PAP – vision to half poverty in the Gambia within 5 years and of course whilst we invest 100 million Dalasis in each of the 7 regions as well as supporting the creation of 5 Gambian millionairs annually. We dare you all to dream big and be each other’s keeper to make our beloved Gambia the best country for all Gambians.