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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Letters to the Editor

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About the economy Dear editor, I asked in a previous blog post on Nyang Njie Blog if the economy is stupid? Well we all know that the economy is neither stupid nor stagnant as it responds to stimuli. Unfortunately, it has been responding to negative stimuli for a while considering the fact that most of the policy measures especially the expansionary fiscal drive by government compounded the economic woes of The Gambia Government hiring an international debt adviser will not change the game plan unless and until the government pursues alternative fiscal policies that are prudent by encouraging fiscal consolidation and contractionary policy measures. A government that is running deficits in excess of 5% of GDP will not in any way tackle the debt situation we find ourselves in. Equally, the Ministry of Finance knows too well that its domestic debt component of overall debt it’s the giant in the room that needs taming not foreign as most of the country’s foreign debt is owed to multilaterals and bilateral within the Paris and London club. Our debt problems are not in need of international economic advisers but serious introspective look at self by taming fiscal dominance. Our domestic stock is constitute over 53% of our total debt stock. The domestic debt stock is owed to local investors such as private individuals and financial institutions. The likelihood of debt forgiveness is virtually zero but debt restructuring can give Gambia the respite it needs by prolonging the maturity profile thereby giving us a breather to better plan our future. The unfortunate thing about our country is our disregard for our homegrown intelligentsia in resolving our economic woes. A country that discounts its talent pool will be left at the mercy of development practitioners whose understanding of the intimacy of the local policy environment is minimal. Let us build a country that is managed by Gambians for the interest of The Gambia and Gambians. Finally, I want to remind the exchequer that we can’t borrow our way to prosperity nor can we spend what we haven’t earned. The more we have a tax and spend economy, the more we over burden the private sector and drive many economic operators to the informal sector. Debt stress has an adverse effect on the future of Gambians yet unborn as they will have to pay for our lifestyle we live today by footing our bill. I therefore urge the practitioners of macroeconomic policy at the Ministry of Finance to not only curb the excesses of government spending but also engage Gambians to drive the economy to its rightful and dignified position. Nyang Njie Economist         UTGSU in solidarity with medical students Dear editor, The 17th Executive Council of the University of The Gambia Students’ Union expresses its dissatisfaction and outrage over the current saga facing the medical students. After exploring all diplomatic channels to make sure that the issue of Cuban lecturers going for holidays late and returning late is a thing of the past, the students were left with no option but to protest and show to the whole world that the stakeholders are not respecting and feeling the plight of medical Students. On Wednesday, 13 December, the medical students under the surveillance and supervision of the ad-hoc committee and the union did a peaceful protest at Banjul. This was meant to send a signal to the UTG administration and the government that the medical students face the risk of spending more than seven years at UTG. This is because most of their lecturers are Cubans, these lecturers most of the time leave at the beginning of the semester and would not come back for the following semester. This issue is rearing its ugly head again as lecturers will be heading to Cuba for holidays. The stakeholders have always failed in making sure that the lecturers report on time. This is due to the bookings of their flights. The UTGSU frowns at the government recalcitrant and nonchalant attitude towards this menace happening to the medical students. The council wishes to tell all the stakeholders concerned that the University of The Gambia Students’ Union will not rest on its laurels and see the students suffer like this. The stakeholders which consists of an inter-ministerial Committee set up a year have failed to solve the plight of the students with the attitude of turning a blind eye to the realities of UTG The Union reaffirms its readiness to tackle the problems of the students even if this means doing it the hard way. While the only state University students wallow in destitution and frustration, our government is busy ignoring the realities on the ground. The University of the Gambia Students’ Union is in touch with the ad-hoc committee, a special committee formed by medical students Association. We will make sure that this quagmire is put to a stop. The Union believes that the course to protest is genuine after the students patiently waited for almost a year after the political impasse. Whilst we expressed our disappointments, we wish to reaffirm our loyalty to the medical students in particular and UTG students at large. The Council will engage the Minister of Health and the inter ministerial Committee . This will be done after making a statement at the press conference to be organised by medical students tomorrow.   Office of The President UTG Students’ Union]]>

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