By Ndey Sowe & Awa Touray
Rohey Malick Lowe, the Mayor of BCC, on Tuesday 5th February 2019, assured the gathering at the Taskforce presentation that before the end of her tenure, BCC will offset all its liabilities. Mayor Lowe made this disclosure at the Task Force presentation on investigations and findings they made on past administrations of the BCC. The Task Force was constituted in June 2018 to investigate previous administrations of the Banjul City Council, and to make recommendations that will usher in long term improvements and consolidate the positive gains of the present administration.
According to Mayor Lowe, the BCC has maximized its revenue base during her administration, and is making all effort to pay all current bills owed to NAWEC; that arrears left by her predecessors are being settled gradually with a quarterly payment plan with the nation’s utility Company. “There is a set revenue collection target for all revenue collectors which is closely monitored by the CEO,” she said; that they have paid all bank loans as well as the gratuity owed to over 200 people. “Council is taking the responsibility of tracing other gratuity beneficiaries who for the past 15 years, have not been paid,” she said; that BCC is fulfilling its corporate social responsibility by sponsoring ten students from different Constituencies; that six are admitted at the University of the Gambia and the MDI whilst four are about to attend skills training Institutes. “Council is about to provide fifteen storage facilities for vendors at the Albert market, and we intend to do more in this area,” she said; that a Records Office has been established, headed by Horeja Mbye, a BCC staff who has offered 25 years of service to Council; that she will be aided by four support staff to ensure proper filing of staff data and Council assets.
Mayor Lowe said the former Finance Manager was responsible for procurement which she said, is against GPPA rules and is unethical in Council’s operations; that now the procurement unit is independent of the Finance Department and reports directly to the office of the CEO.
“With the available resources at our disposal, Council has purchased a new vehicle for the office of Mayor, to replace the old one which has served BCC for the past nine years,” she said; that with the help of the ‘Taskforce’, BCC has reconciled all Bank accounts and closed seven different accounts held in different banks by the previous administration; that they now operate all financial business with only one bank.
“Banking with seven different Banks used to cost Council over 2,5 Million dalasi on bank charges. Thus dealing with one bank has dropped the charges to a little below 200,000 dalasi,” she said
She opined that a coupon system is now in place for fuel allocation and daily disbursement of fuel allocation has ceased; that this is irrespective of the transport allowance paid monthly to all senior managers.
She cited that BCC has put a stop to embezzlement and criminal act of paying salaries to ghost workers and thereby saving a lot of money; that Council has recovered revenue from debtors and will continue to vigorously pursue others to pay up.
“Council has since December 2018, started collecting rent from the Craft Market. This has not been forthcoming for the past four years because of an Executive Order exempting vendors from paying rent totaling D3, 614, 550.