By Arret Jatta
The National Youth Parliamentarians called for the government to be more inclusive in their decision and policy-making processes at their first ordinary session of the 9th Youth Parliament in the 2023 legislative year at the National Assembly in Banjul.
The Speaker of the National Youth Parliament (NYP), Hon Omar Cham, called on the government, esteemed partners and all relevant stakeholders to join them in prioritizing Gambian Youths.
“The destiny of our nation hinges on how well we empower our youth. We must understand that we are not just the leaders of tomorrow; we are the leaders of today. As the youth of The Gambia, we are primed to play an indispensable role in the development and progress of our beloved nation” he said.
Speaker Cham urged all to “remember that our young Parliamentarians have engaged in exhaustive consultations with their constituents. They have traversed our beautiful nation and listened to the voices and concerns of our fellow citizens. This practice ensures that our deliberations and decisions are firmly grounded in the needs and aspirations of the people we represent”.
NYP Representative for Upper Saloum, Hon Mariama Jallow, lamented that all policymakers in the country are above the youth age therefore, “we want to be consulted and engaged in these processes to make sure we raise issues affecting youth and suggest possible solutions.”
Another NYP member for Serekunda, Hon Abdou Bah, highlighted that the National Development Plan 2023-2027 should prioritize youth in all aspects for efficient development. Hon Bah emphasized the importance of the government’s commitment to ensure that young people are provided with good job opportunities. In his view, more viable jobs will help The Gambia curb irregular migration and crime.
To date, The Gambia’s National Development Plan 2023-2027 has not been issued since the previous National Development Plan 2018 to 2021 expired after it was extended to the end of 2022.
Gainako has published a Fact Check focusing on the country’s progress in meeting its Unemployment targets in the National Development Plan 2018 to 2019. The NDP planned to reduce Unemployment from 29% to 20% and Youth Unemployment from 38% to 30%. However, the latest Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBOS) highlights that Unemployment has increased to 56.4% and Youth Unemployment has increased to 45.3%.
Nominated Member Hon. Sarata Ceesay observed that a closer “look at the policies and programs we have in place, implementation is the problem. In the NDP, there needs to be better consultation in the area of women and children. Government should take the issue of women and children very seriously just as any other issue.”
The Youth Representative for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), Hon. Cherno Ceesay, emphasized the necessity of empowering PWDs. This includes factoring them in all aspects of National Development. It can be recalled that the President nominated a representative for PWDs in the Fifth Legislature, however, the President didn’t nominate any PWD Representative for the Sixth Legislature.
On the other hand, the Youth Representative for Bundung Ka Kunda, Hon. Oumie Darboe opined that Gambian youth need to take themselves seriously first before seeking empowerment and inclusion from the Government.