Going by the outcomes of the second quarter retreat of top government technicians and administrators this weekend, the Director General of the Strategic Policy Delivery and Coordination Unit, Mr. Alhagie Nyangadou has maintained that significant progress are being registered by government in achieving the goals of the National Development Plan .
About two dozen permanent secretaries and other senior government officials from various ministries gathered in Tendaba Camp, Lower River Region last Wednesday for a three-day retreat. The objectives were to review and discuss activities and plans across the public sector to ensure their alignment with the NDP 2018-2021.
It also gave them an opportunity to hold each other to account, share experiences and facilitate effective coordination between institutions, in order to avoid overlaps and gaps in delivering government priorities.
On Human Rights and Governance objectives of the NDP, Mr. Nyangadou outlined the formulation of a new Constitution which is at an advanced stage; the establishment of a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, and a National Human Rights Commission as fundamental targets of the NDP 2018-2021.
On Security Sector Reform, he mentioned the reform programmes which include the drafting, validation and launch of the first-ever national security policy. Such a policy will provide framework and form the basis for reform in the security sector. Also, ongoing is drafting of a strategy for each of the security service units as other important targets of the NDP.
On Tourism, he indicated that the Ministry of Tourism and the National Tourism Board are currently pushing for the rolling out of the community tourism concept. “This will ensure that benefits of tourism is spread across the country and not just confined to the cities, especially in the face of unprecedented, high tourism arrivals,” he said.
On Health, particularly HIV/AIDS, he said the Ministry has succeeded in reducing the ratio of mother-to child infections from over 12 percent down to 3 percent recently. Other efforts are in the areas of upgrading existing health facilities, expanding new ones and continuous training of more Gambians to improve access to quality health services.
The economy is also doing well over the past two years, he said: growth is at 6.5 percent, reserves at the Central bank are building up; tax on citizens are being reduced through expenditure cuts of government and sub-vented institutions; resizing of State owned Enterprises (SOEs) and travels of government officials.
To minimse loss to government, Treasury Department is now operating a single government account rather than so many uncoordinated ones. Government revenue increased by 100 percent over the past two years, and 20 per cent over the last quarter, while the Dalasi has been stabilised against major foreign currencies. “These are very important reform objectives of the NDP, he maintained.
On ICT, he said plans are at an advanced stage to establish a “technology park and national data centre”, which are geared towards unlocking the potentials of the young people and transforming The Gambia into a digital economy. So many other NDP indicators are already being implemented across the public sector.
Secretary to Cabinet, Mr. Ebrima Ceesay, hailed the concerted efforts of ministries to deliver on government’s plans. He said the retreat is another exciting avenue for asserting a new culture of coordinated government action.
“Our job is to implement the will of Gambian people by faithfully and diligently providing public services,” Ceesay said, noting that he is encouraged by the extra efforts being demonstrated by officials and the citizens’ continuous demand for more and better services from government.
Director of Press & Public Relations
Office of the President, State House, Banjul