By Omar Bah
The Ministry Of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, following rigorous work and consultation with stakeholders Tuesday validated the draft national transport policy at a local hotel in Kololi.
The ten-year policy draft will focus on maintaining the road infrastructure network, support training program to build national capacity in road works, provide sound and stable financial basis to maintain the road infrastructure among host of others.
According to the road traffic death rate by WHO region and income level: In 2013, low- and middle-income countries had higher road traffic fatality rates per 100 000 population (24.1 and 18.4, respectively) compared to high-income countries (9.2).
The African region is also projected to have the highest road traffic fatality rate, at 26.6, while the European region had the lowest rate, at 9.3.
This, according to transport stakeholders triggered the need for countries like Gambia to have good transport policies that will regulate the sector and thus minimise the numbers of road accidents.
In her opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of MOTWI, Mariama Ndure Njie said transport sector plays a very important sector that is critical for the proper functioning of the country’s economy.
“Over the years there have been several developments in the sector as well as number of challenges we must response to, if we are serious in our development plans,” she said.
She added: “This justified that formulation of new policy framework to ensure the responsibility for the transport sector, the policy making, administration, and planning and regulation are clearly define and separated.”
The policy, she said should also reflect the Gambia’s commitment to regional transport cooperation and integration in accordance with the transport and transit protocols issued by ECOWAS, “to which The Gambia is a signatory.”
“Furthermore and most importantly the national development plan of the new government would have both direct and indirect implication for the transport sector and for that reason the need to formulate new strategies cannot be overemphasised,” she added.
Meanwhile, the lead consultant, Momodou Kotu Cham said: “As I said at the beginning when we were launching this process, we had expressed the hope and belief that at the end of the day we will have a document that will be our own, a document that is going to have our inputs and consequently our commitment to have it implemented.”
“Because that’s the only way we can ensure full implementation of the document,” he said.
He said before finally drafting the document his team have consulted all the respectful stakeholders countrywide to gauge their views and opinions on the document that is expected to serve the interest of the transport sector in the coming ten years or so.