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NAM accuses president of ‘evading burning issues’ in SoNA

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By Olimatou Coker and Aminata Kuyateh

Lamin Ceesay, the National Assembly Member for Kiang West, has accused President Barrow of deliberately evading pertinent national issues in his State of the Nation Address delivered yesterday.

In an interview with The Standard on the sidelines of the event, the lawmaker charged: “I expected a lot from the president, but his comments came contrary. He did not tell us what the government has done in improving the lives and livelihoods of Gambian people, including the unemployment rate. Since he came into office, this talk of creating 150,000 jobs has been on the agenda but then mass failure remains when it comes to employment in the country. We are also seeing the return of deportees which is also going to increase the unemployment rate. They haven’t given us what percentage of the 150,000 jobs have been created. This is a bogus agenda as far as I am concerned.”

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He added: “Out of the deliberations that the president has made, the activities of the Office of the President were not heard. Surprisingly, the budget that we allocated for the Office of the President is bigger than those of the ministries that directly deal with the lives and livelihoods of the people. Yet we have not heard anything with regard to that office. We have seen the president traveling in an out, and the state resources being spent, but he didn’t tell us how the funds were spent and how resources have been used.”

Ceesay said the president points to the many bills enacted by parliament as his government’s success, but failed to mention the state of the derailed new constitution.

“He did not tell us anything that indicated whether the constitution will come back to life. That is disappointing. He talks about the Anti-Corruption Bill, but his [officials] are butchering the bill to zero. Don’t be surprised if when that bill comes for consideration some members refuse to vote for it.”

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Rep Ceesay advised the president to “go back to the drawing board and put things right”.

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