He said: “You have ably conveyed to the rest of the world the pride and independence of this country. From the vibrant support you have been giving to government policy in our bid to extricate ourselves from all shades of neo-colonialist influence or hegemony, and your refusal to entertain the attempts of imperialist institutions to force down our throat, agreements that tend to not just only ensure their continued merciless exploitation of our resources to our own detriment but nullify our sovereignty. You have made us all proud as free-born Almighty Allah-only-worshipping citizens of this great country.
“I am aware that PAC/PEC is now a role model for other countries as well as multilateral agencies around the world that keep on sending teams to this Assembly for study tours.” President Jammeh told law-makers: “I take great pride in your achievements because they have manifested my doctrine of accountability, probity and justice for truly democratic institutions under the July 22nd revolution that represent the true interest of the people of this country,” President Jammeh said while characterising the crusade against corruption as not only the responsibility of the judiciary and the executive but a moral duty upon all and sundry.
President Yahya Jammeh declared that The Gambia will exploit her oil resources in a joint venture “with friendly governments around the world” while criticising oil companies for using the licences for “speculative purposes”.
He said: “Following the recent termination of the licences for offshore block A1 and A4 and onshore Block Upper River in January 2013 due to the lack of performance by African Petroleum Gambia Limited (APGL) and Oranto respectively, the Ministry of Petroleum continues to embark on rigorous marketing and negotiation of offshore blocks (A1, A3, A4, A6) and onshore blocks (lower and upper rivers). Henceforth, we will look for strategic partnership in the form of joint ventures with friendly governments around the world. This policy shift is necessitated by my government’s divine obligation to ensure that Gambians enjoy the highest possible returns on our Allah-given natural resources.”
He added: “The impact of our collective efforts is positively felt in all parts of the country and covers all sectors of our economy ranging from public infrastructure, agriculture, to vital social services like health and education. The impact of these and other myriad development initiatives have been felt not only within the borders of this country but also by those living in distant countries who continue to respond to the beckoning allure of the smiling coast for most memorable deserved vacations of a lifetime or use shores for thriving business enterprise or to prepare themselves for their journeys in discovering the world beyond Koina and Kartong.”
Dilating on setoral activities, President Jammeh explained: “In order to realise The Gambia’s strong economic potential, the 2014 budget is anchored on consolidating macroeconomic stability and accelerating the attainment of government’s development agenda in partnership with the private sector. Therefore, our economic development strategy for the year 2014 budget is based on the following three inter-linked priorities, namely: high and sustainable growth; employment creation and lowering net domestic borrowing to 2.5 percent of GDP in 2014, and to contain this ratio to near zero percent in the medium term.
“We are working to realise these three objectives simultaneously, with a focus on the sub-sectors of manufacturing, agriculture and tourism. Overall, we are pleased that the economy remains resilient and inflation under control despite pressure on the economy due to the unfavorable international economic. The economy performed reasonably well in 2013, growing at 5.4 percent marginally up to 5-and-a-quarter percent in 2012. Furthermore, overall fiscal deficit reached 8% of GDP, while net domestic borrowing reached 6% of the GDP. Government will therefore continue implementing policies that support fiscal prudence using a combination of revenue and expenditure measures with the objective of lowering net domestic borrowing.”
The occasion was graced by the Vice-President Isatou Njie-Saidy, Secretary General Momodou Sabally, cabinet ministers, members of the diplomatic and consular corps, members of parliament past and present and religious leaders, security chiefs, governors and others.
By Sainey MK Marenah]]>