By: Kebba AF Touray
Sidia Jatta the National Assembly Member for Wuli West said the 2020 budget session of the country will be a revolution, if health is not adequately catered for.
Jatta said this at the Legislative House during the debate on the report of the Network of African Parliamentary Committee on Health held in Kampala, Uganda, from the delegation of the committee of Gambia Lawmakers who attended that meeting.
Jatta said as Lawmakers, they decide how taxpayers’ money should be spent in their interest. This, he said, is the reason why they were voted into office and as such, he was going to challenge his colleagues to be bold enough to reject the next budget, if the health demands of the people are not met.
“When a Minister gets sick, he or she flies overseas for treatment, at a time when poor farmers cannot get the needed medical care and service from our health facilities and hospitals. Is this what you call a sovereign and independent citizen? We should stop joking. We have a responsibility. We are their mouths and voices and we should make sure that when they put money into those coffers, it should be spent to serve their fundamental needs,” he said.
“If we failed to do this, we are failing them and this should stop. That is why I say that the next budget will be a revolution, if the health needs of the taxpayer are not adequately catered for, to be rejected. Let Government stop driving these expensive vehicles in this country. They consume our money for nothing. People are dying to have money to be treated and we have leaders who are driving expensive vehicles costing millions, when there are no ambulances in their health facilities,” Jatta asserted.
He called for the Maputo declaration to be implemented otherwise the purpose for which it was ratified will be meaningless, adding the purpose of ratifying something was to make it useful.
On poverty eradication by 2030, Sidia Jatta said poverty will keep on increasing, if agriculture is not diversified and developed to eradicate the very poverty we want to eradicate in the country; that no amount of grants, aids and loans can eradicate poverty in the Gambia, noting that such is meant to keep beneficiaries at bay.
“Aid, loans and grants are tactics to keep you at bay, because they know that your development is to their detriment. No one can develop by relying on your ex-colonial master. We must rely on ourselves,” Jatta asserted.
He called for investments in our young people, adding that they are leaders of today and tomorrow. Jatta recommended for the Nyambai Skills Center to be developed to enable young people particularly returnees, earn the required skills and be engaged in meaningful ventures.He added that the youth still embark on irregular migration, because there is nothing to hold them in the country.