Your Excellency, the Vice President,
Honourable Cabinet Ministers,
Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service,
Secretary to Cabinet,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the Media,
I am happy to associate myself with the opening remarks of the Secretary to Cabinet to welcome you all to witness the swearing-in of Mr. Seedy Keita as Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment.
Honourable Keita’s appointment is prompted by his track record as a professional with a wealth of knowledge, experience and exposure, both nationally and internationally.
It is expected that all these will contribute immensely to the on-going reform and transformation of the important sector he will now lead.
It is a critical sector for development, as it has to create and maintain the necessary platforms for public-private sector interface and productivity. I congratulate Honourable Keita on his appointment, and wish him success.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is an era of transition that calls for change in the nation. We know, however, that instituting change is never an easy task. It is bound to be resisted, but with the right approach, right policies, relevant knowledge and experience, creative thinking and bringing out the best in the people and our institutions, we can succeed and transform the country positively.
I am confident that the appointment of Honourable Keita will add value to the great work that has been going on to enhance trade and industrial development, as well as creatingemployment and promoting regional integration for economic growth.
The task at hand is not an easy one, but it is expected that,working with his team and all relevant stakeholders and partners, he will assume leadership to guide the sector to stir economic growth with active private sector engagement.
Honourable Keita, I am convinced that you are familiar with my government’s commitment to procedure and good governance. A keen sense of justice should always guide our conscience as we render service to the nation.
I am glad that you have accepted to join us in this crusade with full knowledge of the challenges that confront us. I am hopeful that your experience and expertise will further enrich policy and decision making at both Cabinet and Ministerial levels for the advancement of our dear country.
As a government, we pledged to engage in institutional and legal reforms, and we committed ourselves to the principles and ideals of the Constitution and the National Development Plan.
Future generations will judge us, therefore, by how much we have risen to the nation’s challenges and expectations; by how far we will go in moving the development agenda of the country; and, most importantly, by the extent of our success in fulfilling the aspirations of the people who have reposed their fate in us.
These concerns have solidified the guiding principles that inform what we do as a government. Therefore, the policies that guide the operations of our institutions will determine how the services we provide will be beneficial for the social, economic and political development of the whole nation. The indications are that the people appreciate what we are doing. The challenge is for us to do more for them.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me seize this opportunity to thank his predecessor, Honourable Lamin Jobe for his service to the nation. I wish him the best of luck in his next assignment.
Despite the many challenges that confronted Government at the time of his appointment, he courageously engaged in the healing and rebuilding process of our country. He will be remembered for his disposition and support to nation building.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Consistent with my vision of a unified and prosperous Gambia, I call on all Gambian citizens to exploit the business environment in the country and make good use of it so that,together, we can achieve our noble goals. Let us acknowledge the private sector as the engine of economic growth.
With this precept on our minds, we can break new grounds by embracing agriculture as a business venture, investing more in the growth sectors, such as Fisheries, and by widening thescope of the service sectors. Such attitudes will boost investment in industrial development, broaden trade opportunities, diversify involvement in the trade sector and lower the unemployment and dependency rate.
All these are possible, however, only if we continue to live in peace and stability. As a result, let our diversity be the source of strength and cooperation for closer relationships. We are one people; so, let us come together, and remain united as a nation.
I thank you for your attention.