Gambian President Adama Barrow has announced his government is downsizing the fleet of state vehicles in an attempt to save cost, in his first independence address since his inauguration last year.
The move is expected to help the government save about US$7 million (300 million dalasis) a year, reducing cost on fuel and maintenance.
The government is also planning on auctioning some expensive cars such as Limousines, Rolls Royce and Hummers that former leader Yahya Jammeh left behind.
Gambian economy has incredibly suffered especially in the last 2 years with low growth, amid rising government expenditure, which took the public debt to a critical 120 percent of the GDP.
“Waste totaling 4 times the Justice Ministry budget to be slashed, pledges leader Adama Barrow in annual address…”
The Gambian leader also declared a moratorium on the use of death penalty “as the first step towards abolition.”
Barrow also reminded the citizens of the challenges facing the country, saying winning the war “against the dictator was the easiest.”
Barrow said his government has formulated a national development plan that effectively diagnosed the problems of the country and proffered solution.
He said he has directed his ministers to update him on the implementation of the document on a quarterly basis. Barrow presided at the colorful parade of security forces and march past by school children and representatives of voluntary organizations.
Former President Sir Dawda Jawara, despite his old age at 94, attended the ceremony in Banjul accompanied by the former first lady, Chilel Jawara.
Sir Dawda led the country to independence in February 1965, and Barrow in his speech described him as Gambia’s ”founding father”.
Barrow did not mention his immediate predecessor, former President Yahya Jammeh, throughout his speech, even though Jammeh had ruled the country for 22 years.
(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Sourcing from The Torch)