Friday, October 31, 2014

Gambian Speaker admits economic failure

Meanwhile, in The Gambia, the Speaker and some Members of the rubber stamp, APRC-dominated National Assembly while admitting that the mismanagement of the economy has reached crisis proportion, they still cannot bring themselves of taking full responsibility for the current economic melt-down.

Instead, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, who has no power, was blamed for Gambia's economic problems.  In admonishing the official, the Speaker admitted openly - a first, I might add - that the tax base is eroding leading to precipitous drop in tax revenue.  He went into a tirade and was quoted in the Standard newspaper as saying that "foreign grants and aids recently did not flow in as much as we have been receiving them". 

According to the same newspaper, the Speaker spoke of the lack of rains which has impacted negatively the agriculture sector and suggested that since the regime is running out of money as a result of all these factors he's enumerated, the onus is on the Permanent Secretary of make the machinery of government work after Jammeh and these very same parliamentarians have squandered the limited resource of one of the poorest countries on earth. 

The Speaker didn't end there.  In what could only be regarded as a threat, however veiled the threat, he warned a certainly terrified Permanent Secretary, that "the pressure is on you, (Mr.) P.S." and "it's going to be multiplying each year" He was also reminded of civil servants working under him at the Ministry who must be closely watched because "they are many (in number), cruel and smart" all at once.

Whatever the case, the Speaker ended his speech with a reminder to the poor Permanent Secretary that regardless of what those "cruel and smart" civil servants do, "we, (meaning Parliament and by extension, Yaya Jammeh) are going to see the PS as the head of the Ministry", even if he is powerless because he takes instructions "from the big man."

What is new from this new development is that the Speaker was issuing an ultimatum in such an open and frank that it took many by surprise.  It is uncommon for members of the regime to admit (1) that the economy is in a  tailspin and (2) to do so openly.  Stay tuned.