Renowned Gambian academic, Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, has used the platform of the just concluded Gambia Conference on Reforms and Democracy (GAMCORD) to decry the sorry record of remittances in Gambian society.
“Statistics have shown that remittances constitute 20% of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and have come at a huge cost for Gambians,” he told this medium during an exclusive interview.
GAMCORD ended Wednesday a three-day conclave, which was held at a time when the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) has initiated massive consultations on Gambia’s Fundamental Law. The event was punctuated by the participation of Diaspora Gambians who were at the forefront of the campaign to end dictatorship in the tiny West African nation.
Dr. Ceesay deplored the fact that remittances have created dependency, leaving a good number of people unproductive.
“Many Gambians don’t want to work anymore. Because they know that somebody is going to send money,” he remarked.
The Political Sciences lecturer at the University of The Gambia (UTG) asked Gambians to not only focus on the benefits of remittance, but more importantly on the dramatic impact it has on our productive base.
A Gambia Diaspora Directorate (GDD) is already established by authorities with a view to coordinating government’s work in enhancing diaspora input and contributions to national development.
He further stated a lot of research need to be done in order to understand some of the details.
When asked about the best alternative that could help to reverse the disturbing trend of dependency, Dr. Ceesay made it clear that there is an urgent need to create a productive base.
“People need to work. People need to get job, to be empowered to solve their own problems,” he said.
In an attempt to widen the scope, Dr. Ceesay warned gov’t against relying on aid and grants, saying the country will collapse if donors decide to put a halt to their support.
He urged Gambians to do everything possible to break what appeared to be a vicious cycle that continues to drive the country away from the path to development…
“We need to create resources that are not dependent on outside forces,” he said. “We need to build a sovereign economy.”
Written by Abdoulie John
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