President Barrow delivers first New Year speech

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - President Adama Barrow of the Gambia on Sunday delivered his first New Year statement, outlining his policies and plans to move his country forward.

“In twenty days’ time, it will be exactly one year when I was sworn in as the President of this country following my election on December 1, 2016,” he said in an address to Gambians.

“The refusal of the former president to accept the outcome of those results, set into motion sequence of events with far-reaching political, socio-economic and security implications, which has greatly affected the smooth functioning of the state machinery.”

President Barrow underscored that given that no country could survive in global isolation more so a small country with limited natural resources like the Gambia, one of the first assignments of his government was to return the country into the fold of the international community.

“We have already set the ball rolling for re-joining the Commonwealth and other international bodies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and we have also reaffirmed our membership in the international centre for settlement of investment disputes to encourage and restore investors’ confidence,” he revealed.

He pointed out that his administration had already signed the Trade Facilitation Agreement with the World Trade Organization, to ease access to markets and have an improved investment environment.

“Fellow citizens, we have since restored free speech and freedom of the press. Politics of fear and intimidation have no place in today’s Gambia. We usher in an age of dialogue and transparency.

“My Government also encourages all Gambians to be informed and engaged. This is demonstrated by the increase in youth and women participation in the democratic process. We have encouraged openness to the media to promote dialogue and understanding on our national issues, thus promoting freedom of expression and opinion,” he added.

According to Barrow, in the development process, it is practically impossible to take on all development challenges at once and that is why prioritization and focus is important.

“In this regard, following careful consideration I have personally identified the following five thematic areas as my presidential priorities during my tenure of office: Energy and Infrastructure, Agriculture, Health, Education, Youth Empowerment and Tourism.”  

“These areas will be monitored with keen interest to ensure that my government achieves key milestones and targets which are now being worked out at the technical level,” he said.

Barrow noted that the presidential priorities have also been incorporated in Gambia’s National Development Plan as required. This government blueprint which has already been validated, he continues, is an all-inclusive plan with clear vision and implementation strategies.

“As we usher in the New Year, let us make firm resolutions as a country with the bold objective of constructive change and work towards achieving exciting new possibilities in our personal lives, as well as in the life of our nation.”

“I urge all Gambians and friends of The Gambia to redouble our efforts and dedication to timely and effective implementation of our development plan. This requires sectoral leadership in the ministries, departments and agencies to monitor and supervise the implementation and outcomes of the National Development Plan,” the Gambian leader concluded.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 31Dec2018

31 december 2017 15:55:22

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