The Gambia requires a change in the system that will eradicate poverty. The system change should address many issues including building the productive base of our economy such that The Gambia will be able to produce things that we are currently imports including rice, tomato paste, juice among others. We are importing what we can produce. Most of the things we are importing we can produce them.
PDOIS leadership will ensure that the productive base of the economy is built such that the country will not import what it could produce, instead, the Government will enhance the capacity of the people so that The Gambia will produce those products. Juice as an example, our fruits will be processed into the juices and thereby impact on the economy and create job opportunities for people. Most of the products The Gambia imports can be produced locally.
We are importing tomato paste when we can produce it. We are importing onion when we can produce it. The Gambia is yet to see a change in the system and PDOIS has not seen any political party that has articulated precisely what it has expressed.
“We are saying, the processing of our materials can ensure value addition and it can generate employment, foreign exchange and will ensure import substitution – what we are importing instead we will export it. That will enhance the value of our currency. This is how a State should function and this is what PDOIS intends to bring to The Gambia.”
The Gambia produces 67,000 tonnes of rice annually while the country needs 200,000 tonnes, the current bill on rice is over 2 Billion Dalasis. (US$ 39,908,210.00)
We are capable of producing rice. It means that if we produce the rice that we are importing, we will be putting 2 billion annually in the hands of our producers. This is the fact but how do we enhance production, that is a question of system change.
We will ensure that those family farmers are given the capacity to produce what is necessary for us to consume so that the two billion will be in their hands. That is what PDOIS policy is all about and the State that has 28 billion in a year should be able to build its productive base.
The state must ensure that those farmers will have the resources they need to promote their products in large scale and therefore, there must be State-owned enterprises. We are saying we need a cooperative bank where sovereign national wealth will be invested so that they will be able to give the fertilizers, the seeds, the farm implements that the family farms need in order to be able to produce what we need. So in that respect, our country will begin for eradicating poverty.
For over 50 years, The Gambia still issues license to foreign companies to harness her resources and consequently making Gambians consumers instead of producers. The recent move by the Government of The Gambia when it issued license to the European Union to catch fish in The Gambia.
This system cannot sustain the country. What is stopping us from processing our resources and selling it as our own?
In order to end this, there must be a Fisheries Corporation that is publicly owned and will invest resources to buy vessels trawlers that will go into the seas to ensure that Gambians become captains and sailors with this, we will feed ourselves as well as process and export own resources.
PDOIS policy is that each village will have a consolidated fund to be able to carry out their activities including their needs in terms of medication will be calculated and provided to them. We will ensure that every village has labour saving devices to eradicate poverty.
Hon. Halifa Sallah PDOIS press conference on the way forward.