By Muhammad Bah President Yahya Jammeh on Friday 27th February 2015 addressed theYaya Jammeh National Assembly during which he outlined government plans and policies for the year. This is in line with the constitution which states that, “The President shall at least once in each year attend a sitting of theNational Assembly and address a session on the condition of The Gambia, the policies of the Government and the administration of the State.” The occasion was held at the new National Assembly building situated at the entrance of Banjul. It was graced by Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Bench and Bar, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Public and Private Companies, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Regional Governors, Mayors, Chiefs and Alkalos, Religious Leaders and others. In his remarks, President Jammeh said his Government values the legislature as an important arm of Government in the dispensation of democracy. He said the laws that ensure stability, peace, prosperity and equality in the country as well as the financing of the activities of the state all emanate from this arm of Government. He asserted that in fulfillment of his promise when he came to power in 1994 his government has developed and transformed this country from a relatively low level of socio-economic development to a level that “has positively permeated the lives of all Gambians regardless of origin.” He added: “We are slowly but surely marching towards vision 2016, 2020 and 2025”. He however acknowledged that for The Gambia to become “a middle income country in 2020 and an economic superpower by 2025,” it must attain and sustain “double-digit growth.” Further down the line he pointed out that the country’s economy has grappled with “unprecedented macroeconomic challenges,” including a high debt burden exogenous shock in the last four years. The president however mentioned that the economy was driven by strong tourism activities especially in 2013/2014 and a continued recovery in agriculture from the disastrous effects of the 2011 drought. He informs that in 2014 the positive growth declined due to Ebola outbreak in West Africa which resulted in 15% drop in over all crop production. He adds that the overall impact is expected to be a Real GDP decline of ¾ percent in 2014 and “damped recovery” in 2015 affecting the government budget, trade, balance of payments and the banking system. However, he asserted: “Despite the shocks the economy showed resilience and registered growth of 2%. This demonstrates soundness to the macroeconomic policies we pursue and strict adherence of spending within limits of the budget. In this year 2015 we are poised to return to strong growth of at least 6% with that the 2015 budget reflects a clear need to contain challenges posed by the debt burden and steer the budget towards long-term fiscal sustainability. Government will continue implementing policies that support fiscal prudence and discipline using a combination of revenue and expenditure measures with the objective of lowering net domestic borrowing to 1% of GDP in 2015. Addressing the fiscal imbalance will help curtail the growth of public debt thereby leading to a reduction in inflationary and exchange rate pressures”. He promised that the consumer protection tribunals under the Consumer Protection Act 2014 shall be setup in 2015. He informed the Assembly that the rent tribunals have been restructured and brought under the judiciary. In a bid to institutionalize the fight against corruption, an Anti-Corruption Commission Act was enacted into law in 2012. The president said significant progress has been made to ensure that the commission is fully functional. It is expected that in 2015 all the 7 commissioners and Executive Secretary will be appointed to commence operations. Read subsequent editions of Foroyaa for the serialisation of the full speech of the president’s srarement. ]]>

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