Monday, January 17

Hon. Sallah clarifies PDOIS socialist concept

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Presidential hopeful, Sallah alongside independent candidate Essa Mbaye Faal recently sparred on various sectors of the economy of the country – a debate many described as insightful and educative clash of ideas and vision backed by Commission on Political Debate with funding from the National Democratic Institute (NDI)
During the debate, the Turn Around Movement backed candidate alleged that socialist concept has failed in many countries.
However, at a recent press conference convened by Halifa Sallah, he said: “At the debate; really there was no debate. What we saw was the categorisation of socialism as unworthy system. Because that system has failed as alleged in the Soviet Union and we heard that capitalism is the answer. We could not read anything else in the debate other than simply that. Therefore, it is important to acquaint you with these issues, which are irrelevant to the current course that we are undertaking. The course of eradicating poverty in The Gambia. “P
Hon. Sallah indicated that the message in PDOIS’ manifesto is all about eradicating poverty and hunger in The Gambia, adding that his party’s manifesto has no connection with what had happened in other western socialist countries such as the defunct Soviet Union, China or any other country that practiced socialism.
For Sallah, the PDOIS socialism concept is in the context of Gambian economy and very different with socialist concepts in other parts of the world.
He justified that Gambians entirely depend on family farms for agriculture compared to other countries, which has difference in nature.
On capitalism, he stated: When we talk about capitalism; it’s the ownership of means of production. This means the lands will be owned by a few with capital. They will invest heavily with machinery and employ people to work for them. If those who talk about capitalism understand what it means they will not say it is the dominant mood of production in The Gambia.
“In The Gambia, we do not have the industries owned by people in particular as a dominant mood of production and providing employment for the general public. In Europe, capitalism develops as a result of historical development in a progressive way where few control the republic,” he argued.
Hon. Sallah said in Gambia, the reality is that families own vast majority of lands and industries do not exist, saying many Gambians invest money in treasury bills so that they earn more money from the treasury bills to maintain their capital.
In this regards, he noted that those involved in debate should surely understand the nature of Gambia’s economy.
Hon. Sallah further observed that The Gambia is currently a heavily indebted poor country that cannot be classified either as socialism or capitalism in view of the country’s public enterprise as those supposed to invest do not invest in a productive base.
However, Sallah maintained that PDOIS has analysed the economic situation of the country and has seen that the country’s Gross Domestic Product is 180 billion dalasis, which he said, is minimal in terms of development.
“We have seen the realities in other countries where they depend entirely on taxation, grant and loans rather than dividend from the productive base of these things, even though we have public enterprises. And we know that it is not sustainable. Therefore, as far as we are concerned, the loans have been growing by virtue of the fact that tax base is contracted. At a given stage in fact, it freezes otherwise many people will suffer because of the taxation,” he said.
In this regards, the PDOIS candidate shared that his party wants to develop a system that is different from the systems that have existed in the country since the country gained independence in 1965.
“We want to eradicate poverty of our people. We do not want their lands to be distained by the few. We want them to retain their lands. We want industries to be built but we cannot force anybody with capital that they must invest in the industry, when investment on the treasury bills is more profitable for them,” he said.
In this regards, Sallah said a PDOIS government would have agricultural strategy that facilitates the development of the country.
He further clarified that the state that PDOIS wants to build must be fundamentally different from the state that was built in the Soviet Union. He said the Soviet Union’s focus was on the flashback while PDOIS focus must be on republic and creating the sovereignty of the people.
He said in a PDOIS government, the military would be transformed into a work force that will build the country’s works such as road and buildings among other facilities.
On Economy
On economy, Hon. Sallah noted that PDOIS would create a cooperative bank that would support farmers and horticultural gardeners with fertilizer, farming implements, boreholes and others to ensure more agricultural production. This, he said will set the country to work by linking agricultural production with processing and marketing.
The Gambia, he added, imports numerous products that can be produced in the country and a PDOIS government would locally produce eggs, potatoes, rice and many more edible food items for self-reliance and food security.
On Education
He said his government would ensure free and quality basic education for all children as well supply food to all schools across the country.
“This is the type of country we envisage to build. We do not understand how anybody can equate this with any other country in the modern world.”