MINISTER OF FINANCE SHOULD SEEK LEGAL ADVICE ON THE AGREEMENT WITH AFRICA50

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The press conference held by the minister of finance and economic affairs and the minister of works, construction and infrastructure, aiming for full disclosure of the content of the agreement between the Government of The Gambia and Africa50 has failed to clarify key components.

First and foremost, the agreement should have been presented to the media so that the media houses would be able to have the content.

Secondly, they should have explained why the agreement they have signed cannot be classified as an international agreement.

Thirdly, they should have quoted the authority that empowers them to put the agreement into force without ratification by the National Assembly.

In short, the legitimacy of enforcing such an agreement is still in doubt and Foroyaa will seek an overview of the agreement by experienced persons and publish the points at issue in a subsequent Foroyaa edition.

It is however a good attempt of public disclosure of governments’ intention by the two ministers. It is however becoming increasingly apparent that much information has not been given to the public on the subject matter. Foroyaa therefore cautions hasty conclusions being drawn not subjected to holistic analysis. Public Private Partnership agreements must have safeguards and fences to prevent international arbitration that will be detrimental to the economy of a country. The minister of finance did mention that his dealings are with the African Development Bank and its subsidiary Africa50, and made claims that these are not private companies motivated by profit. This is not clearly disclosing the shareholders of the African Development Bank and what it will do to defend the interest of the shareholders. There is no need for complacency in signing international agreements. Safeguarding national interest should be uppermost in the minds of those who sign such agreements.

Foroyaa will give a clear analysis to show whether the national interest is served by such an endeavor.

Foroyaa demands full disclosure to enable critical minds to review the text of the so-called inconclusive agreement between the Gambia Government and Africa50. Without such disclosure one cannot say that there is transparency in the undertaking. The minister should seek to convince the public by facts not opinion.