Speech by President Barrow at commencement of Kiang Road Project

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SPEECH BY

HIS EXCELLENCY ADAMA BARROW, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA

EVENT: LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION STONE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE SANKANDI-KARANTABA ROAD PROJECT

VENUE: SANKANDI VILLAGE

DATE: 12TH JULY 2021

Honourable Ministers,

Honourable National Assembly Members,

Senior Government Officials,

Governor of Lower River Region,

Service Chiefs,

District Chiefs, Alkaloluand Religious leaders,

Distinguished Guests,

Members of the Press,

I thank the Almighty Allah that we are gathered here today to witness the laying of the foundation stone for thecommencement of the Sankandi-Karantaba Road Project. It consists of the construction of athirty-nine(39)kilometre tarred road here in Kiang West.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

This has been amuch-desired project that my government was determined to undertake.  One of the main reasons for our determination is our belief and conviction that no community in The Gambia should be deprived of development, no matter where it is situated.  

It is unfortunate that twenty-seven communities in this project arealack major amenities, including good road infrastructure. Thus, the people in the hinterland face daily challenges ofcommutingtoaccess social services orengage inmeaningful economic activities. The urgent desire to access social amenities has eventually forced many residents to migrate to the Kombos.

As many of youknow,at present, a journey from Sankandi to Karantaba, which should be undertaken underforty-five minutes, takes about one and a half hours, due to the bad condition of the roads.The situation becomes worse during the rainy season because the few available commercial vehicles within the locality would not take the risk of breaking down for commuting on such unmotorable roads.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Government is fully conscious of the many challenges thatthe Kiangkas and other Gambians battle with within the area.We have made it a priority, therefore, to ease thesufferings of the people.

Realising that good infrastructure improves living standards, we are proud to take bold initiatives to provide them for our people.To this end, this occasion marks another giant step towardsexpanding and improving the road infrastructure in all the Regions of the country.

It is equally noteworthy that many of our initiatives are fully funded by theGovernment.This project, budgeted to cost 349,759,040 million Dalasis, is one of them. In view of its urgency, according to the contract agreement, the project is expected to taketwelve (12)months to complete.

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When completed, the Sankandi-Karantaba Road will provide vital access to many communities in the Kiangs. These includemajor settlements likeKemoto, Tankular, Joli, Jali, Manduar, Keneba and Karantaba.

I am confident that the Project will eliminate or reduceunreasonable travel time, unbearable transportationcosts and many other travel inconveniences experienced now.

The improved connectivity among the communities in the area will immensely easeaccess to such social facilities as schools and health facilities, and access to economic facilities, such as farmlands and markets.

It is expected too that the new road will enhance economic activities and growth in agricultural production, animal husbandry, tourism and fisheries marketing, therebyleading to prosperity inthe Kiang Districts. The overriding achievement will be poverty reduction in the area.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am happy that, in our midst,we have the consultants, Cityscape Associates, and the contractor, Gai Construction Company Limited. Both are registered Gambian firms. It is wise that you take advantage of the human resource available in the region tocreate employment, particularly for the youth. 

I will seize this opportunity further to inviteour Gambian entrepreneurs to explore the untapped opportunities in the country so that, together, we will build a greater nation.

At this point,allow me to commend the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Transport and Works Infrastructure, and the National Roads Authority for working together to bring the project to this stage.Their combined roles are crucial forthe successful realisation of this important project.

To the local authorities and the host communitiesalong the road corridor,spreading from Sankandi through Keneba to Manduar and Karantaba, to name a few, Iplead that you take ownership and be goodambassadors for the successful implementation of the project.

Finally, I would like to use this occasion to thank all members of my government and team for contributingtothe planning and launching of this ceremony.

With these remarks, I officially declare 12thJuly 2021 as the commencement date for the construction works of the Kiang West Sankandi-Karantaba Road Project.

I thank you for your kind attention.

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