Majority Leader of Gambia`s National Assembly Hon. Kebba K Barrow said poverty continues to increase in the country, despite the numerous programs the previous two regimes of Jawara and Jammeh have developed to alleviate poverty.
According to the Kombo South MP, lots of poverty alleviation programs have been developed for the country since 1993, including SPA 1 and 2, PRPS 1 and 2, PAGE 1and 2, and the MDP, all of which are designed to alleviate the marginalized rural communities from poverty, saying “still poverty rates of The Gambia is above 48 percent.”
Barrow said National Assembly Members are the right consultants government ministries need to consult on the livelihoods of the people. He added that: “This is necessary because the MPs understand the problems of their constituencies.”
He said the key areas that they should look into are the Ministries of Basic and Secondary Education, Health and Agriculture, adding that these social service areas are areas that will uplift the living standards of the average Gambian and alleviate the country from the clutches of poverty the country has been facing for the last 52 years.
He told budget holders that the National Assembly will not relent in their responsibilities in making sure that every dalasi taken from the national coffers is rightly spent.
“These oversight functions are going to be done. That is why we are appealing for more funds from the Finance Ministry to ensure that the capacity of the Lawmakers are built in such a way that they are able to coordinate and network with other institutions and organizations to bring this nation forward”, said Barrow.
He called on Gambian to put all hands on deck to ensure that all the policies put in place are very inclusive. Barrow advises the Health Ministry to be cautious in procuring drugs in the face of counterfeit drugs, to ensure that the needed vaccines and drugs are secured.
On persons with disability, he urged for the use of sign language for those with hearing difficulties be able to understanding national issues on broadcast.
He hailed GADHOH for the efforts they are making in collaboration with agencies and institutions within the West African sub region, to come up with a very good sign language interpreters, who are now offering trainings in the sub-region, but that their views cannot be heard over GRTS and tasked the Information Minister to work with his team to ensure that by January this year, sing languages are part of the National News on the TV.
He called on the Ministry of Basic Education to improve educational quality noting that the funds are available. He added that the ministry should work with experts to ensure quality education in the country.
He says the Women’s Bureau should judiciously utilize their funds incapacitating women`s, who spend 20 hours of their lives on house-hold chores and to also contribute its quota in ensuring that they benefit from the sales of their produce.