The Minister of Interior Mai Ahmad Fatty defended the signing of a $48 million (D1.92 billion dalasis) agreement for a forensic lab after criticism poured in over the expenditure.
Many urged that although the lab will be to help solve crimes, the money should’ve been directed to addressing urgent health care and economic needs.
“The forensic lab we are coming to build is at no cost to the Gambia government. The funding is coming from our international partners,” says Fatty.
Gambia’s economy suffered a hit following the political turmoil sparked by former President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to cede power.
Thousands of tourist left the country, the real estate industry plunged and businesses saw declining profits.
Growth declined to 2.1% in 2016 due to policy slippages and electoral uncertainty but is expected to rebound to 3.5% in 2017 and 4.8% in 2018 following the political transition.
The outlook depends on the ability of the new administration to carry out a smooth and fast transition in order to make needed reforms and set the basis for structural transformation.
Gambia is one of mainland Africa’s smallest and poorest countries and ex-President Jammeh has used his power to extort billions out of state coffers.
The country is now heavily indebted with domestic debts alone higher than the GDP, according to the IMF and the World Bank.
The European Union has pumped in more than $175 million to help jumpstart the economy and create jobs and the IMF and World Bank has jointly put in more than $75 million close the budgetary gap and resolve fiscal challenges.