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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sabally condemns loans for ‘cosmetic’ OIC projects

By Alagie Manneh

Former secretary general Momodou Sabally has criticised the continuous taking of loans by the Barrow administration.

Speaking to The Standard, Sabally stressed that a country on the brink of debt distress has no business contracting loans for cosmetic projects.

“It is unwise for The Gambia government to take a loan of more than 3 billion dalasis to fund projects that are not in the list of priority projects identified in the National Development Plan,” the economist and a trained statistician stated.

He said even Barrow’s own National Development Plan does not have enough resources for its implementation, and remains on a slow start.

“And the fact remains that the funds pledged in Brussels will never fully materialise within the time space identified for the implementation of the NDP.

The stark signal in this direction was the fact that total grants received by the government year-on-year declined in 2018, according to an official report published by the Central Bank of the Gambia; so grants dropped during the very first year of implementation of the NDP,” he explained.

Sabally maintained that pledged funds for the NDP will never actually come in full measure due to what he described as the lethargy and general sense of malaise in the high echelons of our public service.

“So government should focus on its priority projects as spelt out in the NDP,” he advised.
Speaking further, he said: “This argument was also advanced by Honourable Halifa Sallah during his presentation on this subject matter in the house earlier this week.

We should focus on the NDP rather than taking expensive loans to be spent on cosmetic projects like the OIC, which has already manifested signs of potential failure.”

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