By Omar Bah
The leader of the Gambia Moral Congress has branded the Ministry of Agriculture as the most wasteful government institution.
“The greatest wastage of resources in this country is happening at the ministry of agriculture, consistently for the past 20 to 30 years. And they have the most qualified graduates in this country. So many PhDs and masters’ degrees are at the ministry of agriculture. Still, we are hungry; we cannot even achieve food self-sufficiency. Something is fundamentally wrong with the system,” Mai Fatty told journalists recently.
He said a GMC government would totally clean the Ministry of Agriculture and restructure it to ensure it is responsive to the needs and aspirations of Gambian farmers.
“You cannot have masters degrees and PhD holders working on a number of projects worth millions of dollars, and yet The Gambia is not able to feed itself for even 30 percent of its food requirement. What are these people doing there? We should stop fooling each other and speak the truth to one another. You cannot be at the Ministry of Agriculture eating money, and whenever there is a project, the first thing you do is buy four-wheel drives and create per diems and all these things just to make sure that all these monies go into your own administrative costs, forgetting about the farmers for whose purpose you are appointed,” he said.
Fatty added that a GMC government will seize all those vehicles from “them and do away with four-wheel drives in government.”.
“I believe that the government has too many vehicles, and many of those vehicles are useless and not needed. We should have a carpool and have an effective vehicle policy. Why do you need a Prado or four-wheel drive from your house to your office? Why are all these vehicles on the road? Everywhere you go, you will see GG, even at midnight, markets, and at the beach. Do we work at night? Do we work at the beach? Do we work at nightclubs? What are we doing with government assets at midnight or at the beach? When you talk about these things, they call you a dictator, but I want to be such a dictator,” he added.
He said a GMC government would confiscate all government vehicles gallivanting the roads.
He said government officials should be ashamed of driving expensive vehicles to meet poor Gambians when some areas of the country do not even have water supplies.
“And if you cannot deliver, I will fire you,” he said.
“There are government officials receiving D30,000 fuel coupons every month, while some of our farmers are receiving less in a whole farming year. This is shameful and unacceptable,” he said.
The GMC leader also blasted some female civil servants, arguing that some of them will come to work late and leave very early.
“They have been dishonest to the Gambians,” he said.
Fatty said the most important thing confronting the country is food security.
“If there is no food, there is no security of any sort. So, the focus of any government, particularly a government in which GMC leads or is a part, would be to ensure that we are able to feed ourselves as a nation, and we can because we have the land and we have the water. We have the policies. But we are not implementing them properly, and we have a lot of Gambians who work in agriculture and other government areas who are very unfair and not sincere to our country because they are mostly for their pockets,” he said.