By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Citizens Alliance (CA) Presidential Candidate, Dr Ismaila Ceesay, questioned the expenditure of three Million Dalasis on donkeys and horses by President Barrow’s Government. At a press conference held on Thursday 25th March 2021 at Kanifing Estate, Dr Ceesay told journalists that he “saw more cows” on their recently concluded tour “than donkeys and horses”. Prompting him to ask the Government “where are the horses and donkeys” worth three million dalasis?
Fiscal Indiscipline, Missing 300 Donkeys
Remonstrating against what he branded as the Government’s “fiscal indiscipline”, Dr Ceesay lamented that he “was reading yesterday that they spent three million Dalasis to buy donkeys and horses for farmers. I have walked around the country I did not see that amount of donkeys and horses around. I don’t know where they took the donkeys and horses I don’t know where they are. I cannot find them”.
Explaining the Government’s lack of forward planning to move the country from labour-intensive agriculture towards mechanized agriculture, Dr Ceesay argued that the Government should have used the tractors sold during the Janneh Commission instead of donkeys and horses to help farmers.
“A donkey cost ten thousand Dalasis. People are thinking of innovations, how do you mechanize agriculture? How can you [the Government] sell those important high utility tractors that Jammeh had in the Janneh Commission? And you want to buy donkeys and horses. And you said it’s D3 Million. I haven’t seen those donkeys” he said.
If a donkey costs approximately ten thousand Dalasis, then three million Dalasis can buy 300 Donkeys. Nonetheless, it can be seen that the Janneh Commission Report (Vol 5) highlights that Exim Bank of India “signed a dollar credit line agreement of USD 6.7 million” [approx D335 Million] to establish “an assembly plant for tractors in The Gambia”. As of 10th November 2017 “USD 5.8 million was utilized” meaning that “a balance of USD 0.9 million” was still available to the Barrow Government.
Poor Services, NAWECs Missing Millions
Describing the current government as not serious Dr Ceesay opined that President Barrow’s Government “is the most unserious government the Gambia has ever had”. To buttress his point he turned to the recent news of the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) losing D15 Million Dalasis from their bank account.
“Recently they said NAWEC’s D15 Million has gone missing in a bank account. That is unprecedented. I’ve never seen anything like that anywhere in the world. NAWEC is insolvent since 2011. Still now it’s insolvent. It cannot pay its debt. Government is chipping in to pay its debt for it to stay afloat” argued Dr Ceesay.
Describing the impunity which he believes fuels “poor services” Dr Ceesay was very vocal that the “poor financial mismanagement” of the Government is evident in the Government’s missing D15 Million. He questioned journalists present, saying “you’re [Government] telling us D15 Million has gone missing. How can that happen? And yet no action is taken by the government. Nobody is suspended. Nobody is sent on administrative leave. Impunity in this country. People do whatever they want and get away with it. That is why today corruption is at its highest.”
In his view, corruption is one of the main reasons “young people don’t have jobs”. Explaining further he said, “because Government doesn’t have serious economic policies to make sure that they provide them jobs”.