By Buba Sanyang Healthcare Our healthcare is modelled on the British NHS, free at the point of delivery. With every individual in the country having a postal address, the government can restructure the primary care system to include family Doctors for everyone in the country. Family Doctors will then be the first point of call for everyone except in cases of emergencies where urgent specialist intervention is required. The family doctor can examine patients and if necessary refer them to the hospital for specialist input or prescribe medications for individuals to buy from a pharmacy of their choice. The government should only pay for urgent care in hospital. This can reduce the government’s drugs and medicines bill. To ensure that the public is not been taken advantage of by unscrupulous pharmacies, the government should introduce standard charges for certain medications like antibiotics and strong analgesics. Education All scholarships and training opportunities should be advertised online and all applications made online. This will ensure a level playing field for all applicants. Insurance Insurance laws in the Gambia should be changed because it is not the vehicles that causes accidents but the persons in control of the vehicles. Therefore it will make sense to insure the driver instead of the vehicle. Good drivers can have their premium reduced yearly whilst bad drivers get an increase. This will teach people to act responsibly behind the wheel thus reducing the number of crashes on our roads. Motoring All vehicles in the Gambia should be on the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) database. This will allow police officers to be more effective in dealing with offending motorist and eliminating the need for the countless check points which are many motorists’ nightmare and also creating opportunities for corrupt police officers. The ANPR should allow police officers to have instant access to information like the registered owner of the vehicle, insurance and tax status of the vehicle. The government can save a lot of money by getting rid of tax discs on vehicles and instead rely on the ANPR system. Offending motorists can be given penalty points and fines. With the biometric ID card linked to peoples’ TIN and driver’s license the police can send all fines to the banks if individuals fail to pay within 28 days. Vehicle ordinance test can be introduced and make mandatory in the long term. With all bank accounts linked to biometric IDs and TINs, the government will be able to recoup any money due to the state be it tax liabilities or fines. Policing and Crime Police will be able to respond to incidences and crime much quicker and effectively. Postal addresses will make identifying individuals much easier and also create a criminal database which can be used by institutions in their recruitment processes to check potential employees’ suitability for certain jobs. Examples of such jobs will be the security services, financial institutions and working with vulnerable members of the society like women, children, the elderly and the sick. Mr President, this will ensure that there are long term consequences for crime. People will think really hard before committing crime when they know that the consequences can last for a long time and for some crimes a life time. Nepotism The government should require all employers to advertise all vacancies online and open to all Gambians both in the country and the diaspora. This will provide employers with a large pool of talented applicants to choose from instead of the current system of people telling only their relatives and family members of job opportunities. When jobs are advertised online all Gambians will see and know the requisite qualification and pay scale for the job. This will make all sectors of the country equal opportunity employers. When people get jobs based on merit, it gives them pride in their job and they strife to make a positive impact in their job unlike people who were given jobs that they are not qualify for. Such people spend all their working life trying to placate the person who gave them the job. Placing all job adverts online will increase transparency and accountability. Aggrieve applicants can complain to the ombudsman to have their complaints reviewed. Communication Telecommunication companies will be able to introduce products and services that can reach a wider population than is currently achievable. This will be vital in a new digital Gambia. The services of telecommunications companies can be complimented by that of the postal service and businesses and individuals who create courier services. Transport And Other Small Scale Businesses The Gambia can be included in various satellite navigation systems. People can create taxi firms to make travelling between places much easier. Other small businesses such as fast food restaurants, cosmetic shops, and artisan businesses can also use the postal address system to increase their clientele by using online sites and delivery services. This will create more jobs and more tax revenue for the treasury. Mr President I know you have some lofty ideas about how to develop the country. However you should try and get the basics right first before embarking on big development projects. The Gambia has been dependent on loans and grants in both the first and second republic for development projects, let’s try and break away from that habit. The above proposal will ensure a steady stream of revenue for the government which can be used for project development and maintenance. Jarawa’s Singapore project and Jammeh’s Vision 20/20 all failed because they were based on loans and grants not on what Gambia government can afford. Your priority should be getting the basics right, leave big projects like road construction to the next government. If you have to embark on any major project then might I suggest that you prioritize building a proper sewage system for the entire nation? This should be a priority over roads because roads in the Gambia are mostly destroyed by rain water due to lack of drainage. Stagnant water also provides breeding ground for mosquitoes which increases the incidence of malaria resulting in extra financial burden to individuals and the state. Mr President the above is by no means an exhaustive list of the sectors that can be positively impacted on by postal addresses nor is it a complete in depth analysis of its impact on the sectors I have mentioned above. This open letter to you Mr President is to start a debate on the issue. Whilst I am confident that if the above proposal is adopted it will change the country for the better, I am aware and sure that there are many Gambians and friends of the Gambia with the expertise to further develop these proposals into working or workable policies. Mr President I implore you to use the expertise of such individuals to see these proposals through. Ends.]]>
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By Omar Bah The APRC leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta has said exiled former leader Yahya Jammeh will decide when to come back and he could...
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