To establish a Ministry of Finance to be responsible for exercising direction and control over the Sovereign National Wealth Fund (Consolidated Fund) through fiscal, budgetary, monetary and public investment policies and strategic plans in consultation with the Central Bank.
To establish a Ministry for Economic Planning, Trade and Development to keep track of capital formation at home and from Foreign Direct Investment, monitor its alignment with the productive base of the economy such as agriculture, Industry, services, trade and infrastructure and provide sectoral policies, strategies and action plans to ensure a balanced, results based, target or priority oriented and measurable growth trends towards poverty eradication and prosperity
To establish an Investment Commission to receive complaints and oversee the smooth flow of capital to the productive base of the economy, especially from Diaspora Gambians, and prevent or redress all obstacles to capital flow to the productive base through proper monitoring, whistle blowing as well as proposing preventive strategies or remedies.
To establish a Ministry for Industrial and Infrastructural development to help link agriculture with value added processing and to facilitate investment complemented by infrastructural development.
To establish a Permanent lands commission to initiate a study and continue to monitor the land tenure system in the country, properly delineate and maintain records of land based on private ownership, family ownership, village ownership and public ownership. It will properly delineate land meant for agricultural, industrial, residential, commercial, recreational, conservational and infrastructural use. It will, along with the Ministry of Lands, Urban and Regional Development facilitate the preparation of a programmatic policy document on land tenure, land use and management in promoting Urban and Regional development.
To establish a National Environment Commission to evaluate all prospective developments which are likely to impact on the environment, and monitor compliance with standards set to protect it and promote sustainable development through establishing compliance criteria for each sector.
A National Transport Authority will oversee the building and maintenance of the infrastructure necessary for air, road, rail and sea transport.
To implement a four year development plan to ensure growth in the agricultural, Industrial, services, trade and infrastructural sectors by aligning public sector investment with sovereign National wealth earnings from minerals and other royalties and dividends;
Private sector investment with the private banking system; Cooperative sector investment with a Cooperative Banking system and informal sector investment with the savings and loans sector.
Earnings from minerals, royalties and dividends shall be paid into a Sovereign National Wealth Fund for public sector investment in public enterprises or joint private public enterprises, maintain services, finance sustainable loans, build infrastructure, replenish our reserves and protect the value of national currency. Sign performance contract with public enterprises to ensure payment of dividends.
The Central Bank of the Gambia and the Ministry of Finance will ensure that excess liquidity in the Sovereign National Wealth fund will be combined with that found in the accounts of public enterprises to invest in bonds in the external market to ensure the availability of foreign exchange, the replenishing and blossoming of foreign reserves, the sustainability and growth of trade and the consolidation of a robust financial sector for productive investments.
A sovereign National Wealth fund will be maintained by village Councils, District Councils and Regional Councils into which a percentage of income from minerals in a given area, or royalties from use of natural resources of an area and other incomes will be deposited to promote the development of the respective sectors. The percentage to be awarded to each sector will be determined by negotiation and legitimised through contract.
To enact laws to prevent the disposal of family farm lands because of poverty and transform them into large scale farms with family members as shareholders, by creating schemes for such families to access credit from the cooperative banking sector to enable them to purchase farm inputs and expand production and yield. Those who have user rights, regarding borrowed farm lands for years will also become shareholders on the basis of negotiation on how to become shareholders of family farms, to prevent them from being landless after family lands are transformed into large scale farms. Those who are found to be landless will also be assisted to have income from cooperative credit schemes geared towards poverty eradication to enable them to invest to become shareholders in large scale farms.
Since it is often deemed risky to invest private capital of the Commercial Banks in rural agriculture, because of the absence of easily disposable collateral, the cooperative banking system will be aligned to large scale family farms through a cooperative marketing enterprise which will be linked to the cooperative enterprises and the family farms, in order to provide easy outlet for their produce in order to attract a higher and fairer share of the world market price to make farming a middle income enterprise.
These cooperative marketing enterprises will expand the absorptive capacity of the domestic consumers for domestic farm produce, by linking producers to hotels and other large scale consumers, by developing a supply chain for retailers that will have a multiplier effect on the informal sector.
“Eating what we grow and growing what we eat,” which is a slogan of the APRC, is taken out of context and will simply amount to subsistence agriculture which belongs to the pre- colonial era. This takes the country back to the Stone Age. Our slogan is to produce and process what we grow to ensure that we have both a self-reliant and export oriented agriculture that will guarantee food security and enable Gambian farmers to become prosperous middle income earners.
Development of agriculture needs the support of industry to ensure use of appropriate technology, even if it falls short of mechanisation, to boost production and preservation of farm produce through processing and proper storage and through speedy transportation of perishable produce by establishing appropriate refrigerated transportation systems.
The first phase of industrial development is to link agricultural production to processing by utilising simple technology that can either be manufactured or assembled and repaired in the country.
An inventory of all the labour saving and processing devices will be undertaken to know the areas being covered, the volume of production and what needs to be done to ensure greater reliance on locally processed goods for consumption and export. This would enable us to add value to agricultural produce by transforming them into oil, flour, yogurt, groundnut butter and so on and so forth. The information will be utilised as base line statistics to formulate a policy on industrial development of the country from the village, district, regional and national levels.
The first task, therefore, is for each village to do an inventory of the labour saving devices available in a village, their make, their importers or makers, if of national origin; note the priority needs and indicate whether technicians exist who can operate and provide maintenance, and further examine the availability of spare parts.
The second task is to convene stakeholders’ meetings of consumers, service providers and manufacturers, or importers, to identify how to get the devices on a sustainable basis and how to arrange training of people in villages, districts and regions to provide the technical services needed to sustain them.
Furthermore, arrangement will be made with suppliers to train trainees who will become trainers. A Farming and technical training unit will be established in each village, district and region to prepare the technical cadre who will pioneer the primary phase of industrialisation to concentrate on making labour saving devices accessible and affordable, to free women from drudgery, develop a reliable base for primary processing of agricultural produce into value added products, and thus reduce their importation and boost rural income.
To launch a secondary phase of Industrialisation which deals with light scale manufacturing, and a tertiary phase of industrialization aimed at machine building by encouraging investment in the sector by the public , private and cooperative sectors that will also combine to form joint stock companies through founding a durable stock market, and further collaborate with other African Countries to promote inter- African stock markets and joint stock companies to ensure economics of scale that goes along with sustainable industrial development.
The Gambia is divided by the river into two banks, North and South. They have no road or rail link despite available technology. The extremely unreliable ferry, or boat services, cannot facilitate efficient and effective movement of people, goods and services. The primary task of a PDOIS led administration is to construct a road stretch along the north and south banks of the river that will be connected by constructing a bridge over the River Gambia at an appropriate area in the URR, to ensure free movement of people, goods and services between the two banks.
River transport will be enhanced through construction of wharves along the river banks of major towns to ensure that heavy loads are transported by river to reduce early deterioration of major highways, and give new life to the economic activity of towns along the river.
The bridge that the Gambian and Senegalese governments plan to build across the Gambia river will be extended to become a port project that will serve Southern Senegal, the Gambian hinterland and Mali so as to import and export goods with greater ease, as we work to build all the trans-Gambia roads into first class roads in close collaboration with Senegal and other countries like Guinea Bissau , Guinea and Mali.
Rail link will be explored between Gambia, Senegal and Mali, once the port project takes full shape and sufficient goods are imported or exported through the facility.
A second airport will be built in Basse to serve as a hub for air travel in that catchment area serving Senegal up to Guinea.
Road authorities will be established at village, district, regional and national levels to coordinate activities with authorities responsible for electricity, water, telecommunication and other services to ensure that quality services are accessible and affordable and that there is holistic planning to identify the facilities for each sector and cooperation effected before any given infrastructure is put in place. In this way, one does not have to destroy roads to lay down pipes or cables at a loss to the Nation. Electricity, water supply, telecommunication services and sewerage and waste disposal will be considered key utilities which will be regulated by National Public Utilities Authority. The provision of these facilities will be planned and developed together in all villages’ districts, regions and urban settlements. To sign performance contracts with public enterprises to ensure payment of dividends.
Public investments will lead in these sectors supplemented by the private, cooperative and informal sectors because of their centrality to the existence of each person and the nation at large.
Transportation services for the movement of goods and people by air, land and sea will be given priority, and investment from sovereign national wealth funds, private, cooperative and informal sectors, will be strategically directed to address the needs of the sector on a sustainable basis.
Government will be responsible for the development of tourism policy by identifying products attractive to tourists and other visitors, diversify the services to benefit all parts of the country and work with various stakeholders to provide the support necessary to make the attractions accessible. Public enterprises will divest from hotels and leave the sector to investors who have comparative capacity to develop the sector which relies mainly on foreign visitors.
Government will require foreign investors to provide shares to Gambian partners.
Government will instead seek to enhance the multiplier effect of the sector on the productive base of the economy, through consumption of Gambian goods and services by foreign guests who may number hundreds of thousands because the now exists a democratic system of government, the openness of society and compliance with global food safety standards.
Investment on land belonging to families to provide ecotourism and other services will be rendered by giving fair shares to families.
A National Trade Authority will be established to monitor imports and exports in goods and services and make recommendations to enhance trade balance.
Foreign reserves will be maintained through accumulation of sovereign national wealth, and selective investment in the bond market to preserve foreign exchange earnings and make imports sustainable.
Establishment of cooperative marketing units in villages to receive goods from villagers who cannot find markets and store them for purchase and transportation by larger cooperative enterprises to enable producers to benefit fromthe economics of scale. The operators of these trading houses will transport goods to weekly markets in the various districts and extend sale opportunities to the national cooperative marketing Agency for distribution to urban retailers or exporters.
PDOIS recognizes the strategic importance and relevance of Gambians living and working abroad are to the socioeconomic development of the country. This is why the party is advocating as part of the Opposition parties Electoral and Constitutional Reform proposals, for the inclusion of Gambians living abroad in the election of public officials to manage the affairs of the country.
It is remittances from Gambians abroad that amounts to about 1.7 billion dalasis in 2007 that serves as the lifeblood of many families in the Gambia. There also, are many Gambians of prominent intellectual and technical capacities that can serve the country in various fields.
But in order to connect with the forces on the ground for a durable change of our current political situation, PDOIS calls on Gambians in the Diaspora to hold national conferences and form democratically constituted structures to map out area of interest and concern for partnership with the parties.
PDOIS promises to be such a reliable partner to advocate and ensure the wishes of Gambians in the Diaspora are heard and upheld. A PDOIS government will not hesitate in tapping into the expertise and intelligentsia of the Gambian Diaspora to help build a prosperous and democratic Gambia.
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