Gambia’s Vice-President, Dr. Isatou Touray, has Friday reaffirmed gov’t commitment to ensuring that social equity prevails in the management of the country’s natural resources.
VP Touray made this remark at the opening of the first ever consultative forum on the transparent management of extractives and non-extractives natural resources, which is being held from July 19 through 20 at Djembe hotel in Kololi, some 11 km away from Banjul.
The two-day consultative forum comes at a time when communities are standing up against the actions of corporate entities, that are posing a real threat to their immediate environment and their livelihoods. The Faraba Banta killings and protests spearheaded by environmentalists in Gunjur continue to remind authorities about the need to put environment issues at the centre stage of the development process.
Dr. Touray further stated that gov’t inherited a framework for the management of extractive and non-extractives natural resources.
“Therefore, it is only through responsible extraction and proper management of these resources that we will realize a positive impact on the economic growth, social development and shared prosperity,” she pointed out.
As Gambia is pushing ahead with an open society agenda, Dr. Isatou Touray went on to say that the industry requires legislation that will compel companies to disclose the point of extraction, licensing, contracting, extraction as well as revenue collected.
Speaking earlier, the Resident Program Director of the International Republican Institute (IRI), Robina Namusisi, expressed hope that the deliberations will trigger ‘actionable recommendations’ that would the extractives industry on the right track.
“As IRI, we will use these recommendations to plan follow-on activities to support our partners, inform the transparent management of the sector,” she promised.
In a similar vein, the United States plenipotentiary to Gambia, Richard “Carl” Pashall, reminded the gathering that the United States gov’t is financially supporting the ongoing national consultation.
He said Gambians deserve transparency as they voted for change in 2016.
US Ambassador to Gambia cited the Janneh Commission, the Constitutional Review Commission, saying these are part of the processes initiated the country to seek answers on a number of critical issues.
Policy makers, law makers, youth organizations, civil society groups are taking part in the consultative forum organised by IRI. Expectations are high that the outcome of the conference will pave the way for a better management of the country’s natural resources…
Written by Abdoulie John