Speaking to journalists recently, the socialist party chief questioned the chest-beating over fifty years of The Gambia’s independence. He said the combined 50-year rule of the PPP and APRC governments had failed to lift the country out of poverty.
He added: “During 20 years of APRC/AFPRC rule, The Gambia continues to be a poor and indebted country. This is confirmed by its economic classification. During five years under a constitutional monarchy and 25 years under the first republic, The Gambia was classified among the least developed countries of the world.
“Twenty years after the coup, instead of being an economic superpower, The Gambia has not graduated from the class of the least developed countries but has, in fact, earned the classification to join the class of highly indebted poor countries of the world.”
Mr Sallah frowned upon the country’s dependence on imports, saying that the country needed a shift by investing in productive sectors of the economy and adding value to the raw materials being produced locally.
He explained further: “If you look at the amount of oil that is being imported into the country, for instance, the cost stands at four hundred and fifty-seven million dalasis. This was what we spent on oil as of 2007, when we grow groundnuts and sesame here. If we can build manufacturing industries in the country to process these produce into oil, obviously, we save four hundred and fifty-seven million dalasis that will be re-invested in the local economy.
“There is absolutely no doubt that we spent millions on tomato paste also and that money will stay with us and help the local economy. This is how one generates employment and high income earning. This is why we must link agricultural production with processing. That is the only way we can eradicate poverty. Otherwise, you buy everything else after producing your raw material and the more expensive that becomes the greater the poverty of the people.”
The 2006 presidential candidate continued: “PDOIS proposes to build a self-reliant economy that will be capable of integrating with other regional and continental economic groupings to promote the establishment of regional and continental financial institutions in the form of commercial banks, corporative banks, development banks, a common currency, continental central bank, continental monetary fund and continental clearing house to promote inter-continental and intra-continental trade to move The Gambia from an indebted poor country into a middle income country with a self-reliant agricultural and processing base and a sound service base aimed at providing adequate financial and infrastructural facilities to guarantee sustainable growth and general welfare within an eight-year time frame.”]]>