What is Gambia’s costed programme for the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic ? ? ?
The Gambia has rolled out measures geared towards containing the Coronavirus. These measures include;
1) Closing of none essential Government services.
2) Declaration of a State of Public Emergency.
3) Closure of land and Airport boarders.
4) Band public gatherings
What The Gambia Government has not done yet is to transparently roll out a comprehensive well costed program in which all resource deployment strategies and channels are identified.
The financial, economic and social implications of the lock down on citizens must be quantified and mitigated. Government must restore confidence and announce what kinds of relief support will be extended to the most vulnerable families, to businesses and to ordinary workers.
Government should come up with a plan of what is required e.g.
a) preventive and treatment materials such as testing equipment, ventilators masks, sanitizers, protective gears etc.
b) Relief support program for the vulnerable population, business and workers.
c) support to key stakeholders engaged in the fight such as the media for their critical and necessary role in sensitisation and information.
Once these are costed, it is then tied to the available resources such as the World bank support of $10 million, the IMF support, private sector and civil society support and the savings from suspended debt repayment and others. Any funding gap can be easily raised from the global fund for the fight against the epidemic. Already some of the required equipment had been donated by China and for the sake of transparency that gift from China should be costed too. The Government calls for the cooperation of all in adhering to the lockdown measures announced.
Now who foots the bill when taxis are asked to carry half load but buy fuel at the same price and charge passengers the same price ? Who foots the bill when restaurants, hotels, entertainment centres are closed and workers asked to go home ?
Who foots the bill for water, electricity, rice, oil, etc when the bread winner in the family can’t go to work?
Government must communicate with its citizens by not only asking them to stay home but also telling them how.
Again let us look at what is happening around us and from a far. We have seen what Paul Kagami of Rwanda has done. What Wattera of Ivory Coast has done. And closer to home what Macky Sal has done. The Senegalese Government is taking food and household items to the needy. They have taken over water and electricity bill for the next three months. They have extended tax relief to all business for the current year. They have allocated huge resources to the media houses for them to do more in sensitisation, education and information dissemination. And and and.
Let us emulate the good things others are doing. The money must be used for the purpose intended and for no other purpose. The Gambian people deserve better.
From A Concerned citizen