President Barrow is travelling endlessly. Last week, he was in Niger to attend the AU Summit; he was in Saudi last month to attend the OIC Summit; and now he has been scheduled to travel to Dubai on Sunday for an official trip. All at the expense of poor Gambia.
Each time President Barrow flies around the world, the state would foot for his air travel expenses, accommodation, travel impress and per diem allowances for him and his delegation. He doesn’t travel by commercial flight. He chatters special jets in most of his travels.
Given the dire economic situation in the country, coupled with security challenges facing the country, President Barrow, should consider minimizing his endless trips. True, The Gambia, has an obligation to meet certain international engagements, but even mighty countries such as America, England, Germany and elsewhere around world, their leaders doesn’t travel at the pace, in which President Barrow is travelling.
Delegating his Vice President, Foreign Minister, or an official of the administration to attend some international functions will save the state from the exorbitant expenses associated with these type of travels.
The Gambian government spends millions of dalasis into travels, which do not bring any value to national development. Newly hired junior government officials are raking from such travels just to increase their bank account deposits. Some would be paid per diem allowances in a given month in the tune of four thousand dollars ($4,000 dollars). Some of these officials earn less than two thousand dollars ($2,000) monthly salary. The hustle is real in Banjul.
No one is saying that President Barrow shouldn’t travel. But he should be mindful of bankrupting our ailing economy through such endless travels.
It is public knowledge that international conferences are now becoming means of shielding theft of public funds allegedly perpetrated by public officials or government workers. In some instances, they will falsify travel expenses; dates, and length of a given conference. Such travels are not justifiable at all.
Unless serious efforts are taken by the administration to tackle greed and official corruption, The Gambia, will remain economically and developmentally stagnant.
Instead of having the mindset of working to develop The Gambia, some are openly bragging about the number of houses, farmlands, and estates they owned since joining this administration. We are closely watching. The world is watching.