Economic stagnation wreaks havoc in Gambia, says opposition leader

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The leader of Gambia’s main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), Ousainou Darboe, on Thursday launched scathing attack on the ruling government’s economic policies, saying they are “misguided and continue to wreak havoc on the population”.

“Prices of basic commodities rise daily despite the apparent fall in the exchange rates of all foreign currencies vis a vis the appreciation of the Dalasi (Gambian currency),” the opposition leader said in his New Year message.

Darboe also picked on the plight of poor Gambian farmers saying

“The continued inability of government to make satisfactory arrangements for the equitable and timely purchase of groundnut; lack of other production avenues for farmers; non-existence of employment opportunities, among others, have all impoverished the country and made life extremely difficult for the average Gambian.”

The criticism is a far cry from President Yahya Jammeh’s upbeat assessment of the economy and a 20 per cent across-the-board pay rise for Gambia workers this week.

Darboe said despite all the problems, the country’s parliament, which is dominated by members of President Jammeh’s party, has increased budget allocations to the Ministry of Defence and Office of the President at the expense of social services like health and education.

“The economic stagnation, which has been the result of the misguided policies of this government, has continued to wreak havoc on the population,” he added.

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