By Mustapha Jammeh, Sky Power FM:
THERE IS NOTHING LIKE FREE LUNCH
Aid has been conditional on developing countries especially in Africa for a long time.
1: The World Food Program that usually send free school meals to Africa was done so that there will not be a supply of wheat on world market. In maintaining the demand for supply by giving the excess on poor countries, they will be able to maintain the price for such cereals at world market.
2: Aids and grants given during the most unfavourable structural adjustments in Africa were done in the name of trade liberalisation and free market principles for their economies. These conditions free market pricinples did not exist or cannot be enjoyed by those contries and their economies at the time. For example Aid was given to refinance and restructure existing liabilities and debt repayments. But at the same time conditions were given to open up our economies for foreign investors or companies that will face little or no competition from the indigineous or state owned.
In the case of the Gambia that resulted in the eclipse of GPMB, NTC, Cooperatives etc. Liberalisation of trade tariffs leads to importation of certain consumable goods that we were on track to see gains. The cost of imported low quality rice was much lower than the one produced in Jahally Patcharr and as the dictates consumer choice decides the project was seen as not viable and expensive to maintain.
The consequences of this was the flood of foreign manufactured goods such as oil, and kills our local industry in Saroo or the Cotton Grinery in Basse. Moreover, Aid and opening up of recipient countries provides them with extra markets away from their own countries for companies such as coca cola etc. Therefore the much touted capitalism and free trade never exist as small industries in the developing countries did not have the abilities to compete with international Multinational companies on a global stage.
3: The behaviour of EU is not new. Our governments have been engaged in trade and Aid policies through various ACP-EU Packs.
One area to highlight in those trade and Aid negotiations includes giving them the right to fish in our oceans. What this means is that the paltry €million dollars for example given, it will enable them to issue fishing license to Europeans trawlers to fish in our waters. The consequences of this I am sure could be noted from my own Town Gunjur;
a) the fishing trawler use bigger nets and sweep away our much needed fish from our seas
b)Some of our fishermen Chubaloos lost their lifes as their small fishing nets entangle with this big nets and caused them to capsize.
c)Our fishermen now stay longer than ever in the open seas to be able to return with a descent catch for our local consumption.
The effects of this on our people i am sure could be explain better by greater minds and those suffering it.
But the shortage of fish and expensive prices are amongst many that majority of our people have to cope with daily.
It ironical that the same EU letting their fishing Trawlers sweeps our ocean floors put a criteria of the type of fish that should be caught in European waters. Fish caught below the specified standard are return to sea immediately or else a hefty fine awaits them at the landing. This covers certain cods in some part of Europe.
The EU final attempt to attached the issue of LGBT to Aid was not a surprise , as this has been rumoured for a long time. Forcing the issue or attaching it to Aid are the final attempts to erase our culture and way of lives that has been started since the days of colonialisation through assimilation of language, culture and governance.
It is unfortunate to say this, but it appears that we have already lost control as we have been submerged deeper in this non contesting arena where every rule that has been set goes against who we are and what is in our best interest.
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