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Friday, December 1, 2023

Letters: National economic development

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Dear Editor,

The power of the government to develop the country lies in the government having political control over the central bank. It’s childish and incompetent to have the dalasi minted in Nigeria.

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The Gambia is being given back substantial national economic development powers but the finance minister and the governor of the central bank don’t have the capacity to make use of the national economic development powers coming The Gambia’s way.

From how things are shaping up, The Gambia would only need foreign currencies from the international basket of currencies to cover imports and banking.

The government has substantial national economic development powers from minting its own currency and issuing bonds (budget deficit) to develop the country, grow and expand the size of the national economy and improve the living standards of the people.

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All that The Gambia government needs to develop the country is to have the cover in foreign currencies (SDR) for imports and banking, the rest of the national economic development powers are being handed over gradually.

That capacity to create the financial and the national economic development funding structures is the competency missing in the government.

It’s the finance minister and the governor of the central bank who should create and set up the financial infrastructure to fund national economic development in The Gambia.

The president is hopeless. Gambians are quick to say that Mr X is educated and Mrs Y is an expert, XY used to work in the UN. Yes we get that but The Gambia needs the expertise and the competency to draw up national budgets from the national economic development powers at the disposal of the government.

Those are the most important qualifications relevant to the political and national economic development leadership of The Gambia.

The government of The Gambia is not and should not be the branch office of international organisations representing the financial interests of private foreign and local vested interests.

To lead a country in the now globalised world is very challenging but the international world of finance and economics has never been more multi-polar with a range of international financial and economic power blocs and all kinds of trading and trade payment settlement systems.

The capacity for the government to connect small Gambia into the array of the global financial and economic development systems out there is the confidence and the conviction the president, the finance and foreign ministers and the governor of the central bank lacked. The Central Bank of The Gambia is being governed like a branch office but not of The Gambia government.

The key to national development and economic prosperity of The Gambia lies in the ministry of finance and the central bank.

You can rant and rave, quote from the constitution from dawn to dusk, but the fact remains that the key to unlock national economic development and political stability in The Gambia is to have in government the competency to create the financial and economic development investment infrastructure by the government.

And a little bit of familiarity with the concept of democratic politics, the idea of a nation state and its political, financial and economic powers and how the national parliament governs a democracy will come in very handy.

The Gambia is being held back from national development, economic prosperity and good governance owing to the lack of capacity and competency in the government to govern the country. Governments hire experts to advise them on policy and strategy on how to develop a country.

The kind of advisers hired and the type of advices given depend on what the government seeks advice on. It’s not the case as some Gambians would like to think that their Mr and Mrs Educated from the UN are experts in politics, international finance and economics. The UN hires experts to advise the world body on a range of topics and specialties.

I don’t think the UN would hire Tony Blair for expert consultancy on anything nor should the Barrow government! But The Gambia is in need of the expertise to create a financial industry in the country to fund national economic development and prosperity in the country. The president, ministers of finance and foreign affairs and the governor of the central bank, hello!

Magafuli the deceased celebrated Tanzanian president kicked out the UNDP rep in his country. I think she’s a Gambian. Magafuli understands the powers the government has to develop the country and not just be the representative of international organisations and vested business interests.

And within five years, Magafuli was able to make the Tanzanian economy much better and more developed – he put up taxes on the natural resources extraction industries, cut down the government budget on frivolous expenses and waged war on corruption.

I’m sure the UN lady kicked out of the country by Magafuli will make a brilliant president in The Gambia. But The Gambia will not celebrate the national economic development Magafuli brought to Tanzania – that’s the difference!

Yusupha Bojang


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