Allow me to use your medium to commend the leadership for the campaign to rid the government of corruption. But there is a need to go beyond the ongoing purge. The most obvious target now should be all the incompetent top and mid-level personnel directly to blame for the wastage of public resources. It is my view that this is the only way to ensure that the public gets value for the taxes paid. There is clearly an unacceptable level of laxity even in the delivery of vital services. This must not be allowed to continue. Wise use of our resources should be given prominence and those who are not fit to deliver service to the country should not be entrusted with the responsibility. The development of our nation will be dependent on putting the right people in the right places. This may sometimes prove to be difficulty but measures have to be formulated to minimise the appointment of inept officials into public office. Clearly, this problem is growing in the public sector and calls for an urgent remedy. The challenge is enormous. Appointment to public office should be based on merit. It is only through those who are fit to manage the affairs of the country that there can be further development. If we are serious about taking our nation to the next level of development, then we should follow the formula used by other more advanced nations. Rendering service to the nation should not be about who you know, but rather what you know.
We all have a role to play in marketing Destination Gambia
Let me use your medium, The Standard to share my opinion on the need for all of us to sell the country as a tourist destination. Tourism is a major contributor to our national economy. Foreign tourists contribute massively to country’s economic growth. However, this industry has been crippled by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa which brought about a crisis situation for last year’s tourist season. Last year, assessments of the effects of this shock to our economy were frightening. These assessments revealed that the country was spared from the Ebola outbreak, but the crisis had deterred tourists, reducing activity in the sector dramatically. It later projected a decline of about 60 percent in our tourism which turned out to be true. I have to say that tourism is our principal export and we all have a role to play in promoting it. Tourism accounts for about 16 percent of the country’s GDP and directly employs 35,000 people with the same number again employed indirectly by the industry. It is the second biggest source of foreign currency in the nation which is also vital for the purchase of key imports such as rice. It is therefore prudent for us all to put the sector back on a quick recovery. We have to work closely with the government and its partners in the industry to make sure it regains its footing. It is everybody’s business because there are intricacies involved. The peace we enjoy is our biggest asset in this and we have to use it to strengthen our case in wooing more tourists into the country. I believe that tourism is also an industry that requires continuous capacity building for continuous development of the different products that exist in the industry. Capacity building is very critical and central to the development of the industry as a whole. Therefore, tourism stakeholders must make the best use of trainings so that they can effectively market Destination Gambia.