By Kebba Jeffang
Gambian President Adama Barrow and members of his cabinet, converged at their fifth sitting on 9th August 2017. Their convergence was toreview government policies for the health sector, international cooperation, and petroleum matters. The cabinet convergence was held at the president’s Fajara office, according to a statement from the presidency on Thursday.
“Cabinet discussed decisions taken at its last meeting in June and several policy proposals and reports brought before it for consideration today. Members were briefed about plans for a policy to further liberalise the country’s broadcasting sector, the objective being to further promote freedom of expression and empower citizens,” it stated.
The release informs that 2017–2030 Health Sector Financing Policy, a memorandum of understanding between the government and development partners introducing the Gambia Country Compact and a national climate policy, were also discussed at the cabinet meeting.
“Members received a briefing on the status of petroleum exploration and production of licenses for off-shore blocks A1 to A6, as well as on-shore blocks in the Lower and Upper River regions of the country. They also discussed the challenges of land allocation and management in the Tourism Development Area (TDA),” it added.
To address the financial gap in government, the release indicated that provisional approval was granted for a financial agreement with the International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the World Bank Group that makes concessionary loans and grants to development countries. It said the agreement is worth $56 million and it will be presented to the National Assembly for final approval. A proposal to put a levy on fuel as an alternative source of financing for sports, was also considered by ministers.
Meanwhile, on the border issue, Cabinet members were briefed on the joint border verification and densification, between The Gambia and Senegal.
“They were presented a report on the 4thConference of African Ministers in Charge of Border Issues, which took place in Addis Ababa last October. Today’s meeting agenda also included a presentation on the naming and re-naming of roads, other infrastructure and government facilities. In the area of education, members reviewed a report on the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Forum for Education and Health Ministers in the United States in June, as well as the 7th Ministers of Youth and Education World Forum, held in South Korea in July,” the statement says.
The meeting also touched on international cooperation particularly the reports on the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government held in Monrovia in June; the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union held in Addis Ababa in July and an official visit to Turkey by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, it concluded.