The President H.E Adama Barrow wrapped up his Meet the People Tour in the Upper River Region with a meeting in Koli Bantang in Wuli West, which was also attended by constituents from Wuli East and Sandu.Issues surrounding agriculture, road infrastructure, electricity and horticulture dominated the agenda with speakers calling on government to increase investments to help local communities. The Lady councillor Fatoumata Saho led the chorus, commending the President for the numerous developments that have transformed the region. The youth representative Yorro Camara and Fansainey Barrow called for more government support to enhance agricultural production in the region, arguing that the URR has the potential to produce enough to meet the needs of the people. As the prices of basic foodstuff increases beyond the reach of ordinary people, Fansainey Barrow called for a radical shift to boost local production. Mbemba Jabbi also appealed to government to revise the tariff at the Samba Juma bridge as the toll is deemed too high for local drivers, and commuters who now use boats to cross the river.Chief Momodou Bah of Wuli West expressed gratitude to the President for what he called his commendable response to current coat of living crisis, which he attributed to external factors, urging Gambians to turn these challenges into opportunities.The Governor of the Upper River Region Samba Bah said his region has seen unprecedented developments under President Barrow, urging people to nurture the prevailing peace and stability. The Governor said several rural communities in the region have benefitted from the NAFAA cash transfer initiative designed to reduce poverty amongst farmers, whilst also revealing plans to construct a regional hospital in Giroba Kunda.The Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure Ebrima Sillah said the next five years will be momentous for the URR as studies have already been completed for the construction of half a dozen feeder roads across the region. He road projects, the Minister added will be funded from the national budget in line with the President's development agenda which priorities infrastructure as the engine of economic growth. The Minister of Regional Government and Lands Abba Sanyang expressed concern with the indiscriminate dumping of waste in public places, adding that government is exploring possibilities of re-introducing the monthly cleansing exercises across the country. The Lands Minister also urged local communities to resolve land related disputes peacefully, as these conflicts could upend the existing peace and stability in the country.The President H.E Adama Barrow closed the meeting, commending the people of Wuli and Sandu for the impressive turnout. The President harped on the importance of dialogue in fostering understanding amongst people, describing the tour ad an important platform for exchange of views on national development. The President said his government has laid a robust foundation for socio-economic and infrastructural development, adding that the next five years will usher in more opportunities for citizens. With the groundnut trade season beginning on December 1st, President Barrow announced that government has increased the price of a ton from D28000 to D3200, to help farmers. Speaking about the current economic situation, President Barrow blamed the covid19 pandemic for disrupting supply chains across the world leading to a rise in prices of basic commodities, but reassured that government has taken adequate steps to stabilise prices. Responding to appeals for more electricity access, President Barrow revealed that more than 200 villages will get electricity in URR.The President also addressed concerns raised by some speakers about the recent introduction of a toll at the Samba Juma bridge, saying the fee is justified to enable government raise funds for the upkeep of the bridge. The construction of the bridge, President Barrow added has made life easier for residents as it is safer, quicker and cheaper compared to the boats. He therefore advised communities to take ownership of the bridge and shun detractors who are bent on inciting people against the government, using social media as part of a wider political campaign. The President concluded by reassuring people that the funds generated will be used for development purposes to serve the welfare of Gambians.The tour continues in the CRR with planned meetings in Jarreng and Bansang.
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