Allow me to use your medium to address three issues that have been eating away at the heart our society. They are nepotism, corruption and bribery. These issues have now become the order of the day. In fact, they have made some individuals to descend so low in terms of their moral turpitude. It should be mentioned that nepotism is the practice where a person in a given position gives preferences to members of his or her family or any other person who he or her shares the same ethnic group with. This practice may be particularly common during the award of jobs. In corruption and bribery related issues, there is abundant evidence of people using their position to illegally enrich themselves. During the delivery of normal services to society or to the country, some people perform their routine duties only when they have been sufficiently bribed. As matter of fact, some people who are placed in higher positions use them to advance their own selfish interests. This is very worrying and it is in the interest of the society to see to it that we wage a war against such practices.
I believe that as human beings, we have to be honest especially when it comes to rendering service to our countries. It has to be said that these practices are very detrimental to the development of nations. There is a need for all hands to be on deck to make sure that we properly manage our resources. Mechanisms also need to be put in place to deal with individuals who are bent on pillaging the nation’s assets. Our public offices need to be properly scrutinised for accountability and transparency purposes. This way, we will be able to advance our collective interest as a country. The responsibility that lies ahead is huge and we must not renege on it. To God be the glory!
Modou Lamin Jaiteh,
Contribution of the private sector to development
I want to kindly use your medium to say that the private sector contribution to the development of any nation is no longer news. Every country including The Gambia is aware of this broad yet acceptable fact. Even in a market-based economy, private firms contribute in many ways to poverty reduction and employment creation. It must be said that at a broader level of poverty reduction, private enterprises have been vital in supporting overall technological advance. This has been tipped to be the long-term driver of economic growth. Technological learning for production occurs at the level of enterprises, both public and private. This has become more important to our government as it tries to make The Gambia reach middle-income status. However, there is the need for us to develop our own technological base in order to compete internationally. I must admit that the private sector in The Gambia is undergoing a lot of positive transformation. This is good but there is a need for partnership especially between the public and the private sector. These two sectors can combine their respective strengths for the development of our nation. The private sector can leverage its advantages of greater efficiency, lower costs of distribution, and more complex delivery systems to reach new markets. The public sector, on the other hand, can ensure access by providing financial support to subsidise impoverished households, thereby enabling private firms to enter the market with guaranteed consumers. Public-private partnerships can also take advantage of creative mechanisms to provide poor people with access to technologies that would otherwise be priced out of their reach. Furthermore, it is also compelling to mention the importance of small and medium size enterprises. In some important development success stories, small and medium enterprises developed much of the local technology that laid the foundation for rapid growth. This is why they need to be supported and encouraged. We have a long way to go as nation in terms of development and any national strategy to achieve the post-2015 sustainable development goals needs to include a clear framework for private sector growth. Many of the public investment strategies being developed must assume relevance for an efficient and dynamic private sector. Let us all now steel ourselves to the fact that the private sector will hold a big say in the development of our nation.