By Omar Bah
The National Assembly Member for Serekunda West has challenged the Ministry of Agriculture to cut all its travels, furniture and maintenance expenses to subsidise the price of fertiliser.
In an exclusive interview with Star FM to be aired today, Honourable Madi Ceesay said the price of fertiliser is too expensive for Gambian farmers to afford. He warned that if government fails to address the issue, it could have a devastating impact on the country’s food production.
“I will suggest for the Ministry of Agriculture to cut its travels, furniture and maintenance expenses to subsidise the fertiliser price. There has to be a way out and I am sure there are solutions that the government could take to solve the problem, except if they are not ready to do anything about it but they cannot say there is no money,” he said.
He said if things get worse, the government could even introduce virement where monies would be extracted from other ministries to subsidise fertiliser.
“The Ministry of Agriculture has continuously failed the Gambian farmers in their budgets by not taking issues like fertiliser very seriously,” he said.
He said the government should urgently find solutions to reduce the fertiliser price.
MP Ceesay has also confirmed his plans to table a Rent Amendment Bill in September or thereabout which will seek to regulate rent in The Gambia.
“I have already prepared a petition which will be signed by Gambians across the country to demand for the rent law to be revisited. We are gathering support of Gambians both online and physically. We are not just seeking to regulate the prices but also the conditions attached, especially when it comes to advanced payments because Gambians cannot afford it,” he said. The UDP MP said the Rent Bill is going to be one of his top priorities and if achieved, would be one of his best achievements as a lawmaker.
“If the bill is passed, it would be a massive victory for the current government, myself and the National Assembly because it would demonstrate that we have our people at heart,” he said.
He said the government has not done enough to bring the prices of food commodities down. Ceesay advised the government to take matters of people’s living conditions very serious. “I think this should be the government’s number one priority and stop taking the war in Ukraine as an excuse,” he said.
Commenting on the much talked-about TRRC reconciliation process, Ceesay, a victim himself, said the country needs good leadership and reconciliation.
“I have not seen any situation or serious division that would affect the progress of this country. What we need is good leadership because we have not gone through any war or circumstances that would warrant reconciliation,” he said. The journalist-turned-politician said with a good leadership, the country would easily move on from its past and build a strong foundation for the future.