President Barrow Opens 2018 Legislative Year

By Bekai Njie

President Barrow on today gave in-depth report of   the state of the nation citing corruption as an issue that needs to be dealt with.

“Anti-Corruption Bill has been finalised and ready to be submitted to the Cabinet for final review and approval,” he told legislators at the National Assembly. He said it’s coming with the aspiration to foster good governance and combat corruption.

President Barrow

The president said that the bill seeks to establish an Anti-Corruption Commission and provide effective measures for the eradication, suppression and prevention of corruption and corrupt practices in both private and public life in The Gambia. We expect to table the bill before this August body by the end of 2018.

On youth empowerment, the president said two 250 youths are expected to complete skills training and receive entrepreneurship support in relation to the construction sector, adding that at least, 30% of the project beneficiaries would be women.

“These are crucial interventions to reduce unemployment.”

Dilating on Information and Communication Infrastructure, the Gambian leader said that his government through the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, is working on a National Broadband Network Project. “In this regard, GAMTEL has secured a USD 25 Million concessional loan from the People’s Republic of China to address the last mile access, including rural access.”

“The National Broadband Network seeks to supplement the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) and the ECOWAS Wide Area Network (ECOWAN) in addressing the national infrastructure challenges,” adding that government has put in place sufficient safeguards to affirmatively address the revenue leakage at our National and International Gateway.”

Mr. Barrow hinted that a new measurement system will be installed to accurately document, monitor and digitally store all call traffics in and out of The Gambia.

He explained that among other things, this system is expected to include revenue assurance, anti-fraud management, IMEI Management, quality of service and mobile money monitoring.

 “I am happy to report further that, with the liberalization of Television Broadcasting, four (4) TV licenses have been issued to QTV, Paradise TV, Star TV and MTA respectively.” “Other applications are currently under review. “In addition to these developments, a Taskforce has completed the review of the media laws and Cabinet will review its recommendations.”

In the area of education, the Gambian leader went further to say that the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education tabled the revised Basic and Secondary Education Bill, 2017 that was approved by Cabinet for enactment.

“This Act provides for the management and development of educational services in The Gambia, and shall govern the operations of all schools from pre-school to the secondary level, including non-formal schools”.

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