NDP Faces Funding Difficulties Says DG Nyangado
Alhagie Nyangado, Director General for the Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery at the Office of the President, has confirmed that the National Development Plan (NDP) is currently facing serious funding problems due largely to the country’s inability to access new loans to carry out the development programs inscribed in the National Development Plan 2018-2021, that was sold at a roundtable donor conference in Brussels 2017.
This revelation was made at the Statehouse in Banjul as Nyangado’s office briefed the media on the ongoing preparations for the first Gambian International Economic and Investment Forum in Spain. The forum hopes to galvanize more resources for the government to carry out its respective projects and programs captured in the National Development Plan 2018-2021.
The goal of the National Development Plan (NDP) is to deliver good governance and accountability, social cohesion and national reconciliation. It also aims to revitalize and transform the economy for the wellbeing of all Gambians anchoring on the national vision that aims to transform the Gambia into a middle-income country.
Among other issues, the National Development Plan hopes to make citizens enjoy the benefits of the highest standards of governance with equality before the law, guaranteed freedom of expression; ensure that government is fully accountable to its citizens and the constitutional provision on separation of powers, ensure that there is social cohesion and harmony among communities. The NDP is geared to provide a high standard of living and access to health, education, food, quality basic services and housing which are all guaranteed to allow citizens to lead decent and dignified lives among other aims.
However, since President Barrow left Brussels with high expectations that D1.7Billion will flow into the country culminating into the launching of the National Development Blueprint in 2017, little has been achieved so far creating confusions among Gambians as to what actually happened to the much talked about National Development Plan.
“Of course, yes the NDP is having funding difficulties and the difficulty is the Gambia cannot take loans. The only loans this government can take is loans that are 50 percent free and getting these types of loans is a problem for the country which is why other funding opportunities such as the International Forum expected to be hosted in Spain are to be looked into,” Nyangado disclosed.
According to Nyangado, D1.7billion was pledged to the National Development Plan, most of which only comes in terms of grants that includes the expenditures of ECOMIG contingent in the Gambia, disclosing that a greater number of the pledges have not been forthcoming because of the indebtedness of the Gambian economy.
“Most of the grant components of the NDP are here but the greater part of that grant is going into maintaining ECOMIG which is entrusted in the hands of ECOWAS. Government is yet to receive the most important part of funding for the NDP that is supposed to build roads, infrastructures, and improve on our hospitals. Those are not forthcoming,”Nyangado revealed.
Nyangado explained that out of the D1.7Billion pledged at the Brussels conference, eight hundred million dalasi (D800,000M) that is expected to come as loans are not accessible due largely to the indebtedness of The Gambian economy making it harder to realize the aims and objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP), arguing that this is why The Gambian government is looking at other opportunities such as the proposed Gambia International Economic and Investment Forum in Spain in order to attract investors to carry on with the National Development Plan agenda.
Director General Nyangado also dispelled notions that the trip to Spain is meant to ferry scores of top government officials to Spain for yet another retreat. He maintains that the trip is part of an effort to attract investors into the country from Spain in a bid to accelerate the program of activities of the NDP.