Saturday, April 1, 2023

Sidia Jatta asks why Gambia is Celebrating Independence When She is grappling with a Staggering Debt Burden


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Mariama Marong

The National Assembly Member for Wuli West, Sedia Jatta, has queried the need for Gambians to celebrate Independence Day when their country is burdened with a debt of about sixty-seven billion dalasi.

The veteran politician said the aforesaid debt is hanging on the neck of Gambians, noting only over six billion dalasi had been paid to creditors.

“Loans are killing this country why celebrating Independence Day when nothing is achieved,” Jatta said in an exclusive interview on the sideline of the Independence Day commemoration organized by Nusrat Senior Secondary School on Saturday ahead of 18 February.  

The Gambian law maker said: “The fundamental question is, ‘why do we celebrate independence’. Do we celebrate going forward, backward or just celebrating for the purpose of celebration?”

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According to Jatta, celebration of such nature should be stopped; quizzing what has been accomplished or achieved so far since independence.

He further asked: “What challenges do we have and what have we done in terms of developing our nations through education, agriculture, health, infrastructural development?”

Jatta also asked when Gambians will be able to pay the loans, saying the amount of money used to service or pay the debt was over six billion this year. This, he said, is more than two key ministry’s budget- agriculture and health budgets- if all combined.

Jatta said independence does not mean begging for monies and loans from international agencies, but it means achieving and making progress through making it up and becoming more and more independent and capable of doing things in your country without outside help.

He said tremendous efforts are required to make these things happen. However, he said as long as every year the country’s budget is supported by external donors, then there is a problem and it means the country is not independent.

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