By: Kebba AF Touray
The national assembly member for Banjul North, Ousman Sillah, has renewed his call for the government to invest in The Gambia’s productive sector, citing the fisheries sector as an example.
Sillah made this call on Monday 13th September 2021, during the debate on the state of the nation address delivered by President Adama Barrow on Thursday, 9th September 2021.
Sillah said the country is endowed with abundant fish, but its potentials are not being adequately and judiciously utilized by the state.
“Government should really invest in the fisheries sector. It is a potential that we are not making good use of. It creates employment, supplements nutrition, generates revenue but it is always missing in the address and being left utilized,” he said. “It is not being harnessed to address the problems of unemployment in the country.”
He added that if you go to the market, you will realize the testament of the fact that the sector has not been harness is the increase in the price of a Bonga fish which is the cheapest.
He said: “This would mean that traditionally, the expensive ones will be rich for an average family.”
Weighing in on the address, Sillah challenged the government to look into urban transport service, with the inclusion of existing transport service and the transport unions to address the challenge confronting the citizenry through the provision of minibuses to facilitate the movement of the citizenry.
This, he said, will ensure that transport fares are made affordable for the general public, adding that there are constraints with road network and car parks yet the said challenges confronting the transport sector were not mentioned in the president’s address.
“Access to potable clean drinking water is a right and we must make sure that this right is fulfilled, to ensure that every community in this country accesses water. So, any effort towards this direction is welcomed as we are fulfilling a right” Sillah tasked the government.
He said water is life and in the current proliferation of boreholes, there is the need to manage and control the boreholes to ensure they are constructed at strategic and healthy locations and the healthiness of the water.
“We need to address the issue of inadequate safe drinking water in this country. NAWEC needs to do more in terms of addressing the need for access to quality and safe drinking. There is also the need to have water management mechanism for the boreholes because they are being constructed everywhere,” he said.
“I am not saying that they should stop the construction of boreholes, but the constructions should be supervised to ensure that they are constructed in safe and healthy places.”
On the agricultural sector, he challenged the government to utilize and invest in the sector as well as take lead role in enhancing farming communities with the requisite tools and inputs to diversify and maximize production.
“It is also a potential for the country to sustain itself in terms of food security. We must definitely start by ensuring that the government takes the lead by supporting communities in agriculture by helping them with the necessary tools and inputs, seeds and market as well as diversification of the sector,” Sillah said.