By:Kebba AF Touray
The Minister for the Interior Ebrima Mballow, on Monday June 25th 2018, apologized to Gambians on the long delay in resolving the ID card issue, which he disclosed, is due to technical and legal issues regarding the contract.
Mballow offered his apology before Deputies at the National Assembly, in response to a question put to him by the Minority Leader and Member for Niamina Dankunku, Samba Jallow. The Minority Leader asked the Minister to provide Deputies with an answer on the issues surrounding the production of ID Cards and the time his Ministry will start issuing them.
Mballow fin response stated that Government has decided to recognize the contract they signed with SEMLEX in April 2016 and that hopefully, production will start in 90 days.
“The contract has been re-negotiated and amended. It is now before the Ministry of Justice for final review and conclusion. In the interim, the Ministry will issue another press release for the Financial Institutions to continue to recognize expired ID cards and other valid national documents for identification purposes,” Mballow said.
On why Gambians are not issued with the country’s National Identity document, as raised by the Member for SerreKunda West, Madi MK Ceesay, Mballow expressed shame over the issue, and said this has been lingering for some time now.
“I appreciate the patience and understanding of the general public. The contract for the issuance of ID cards is before the Cabinet and as soon as approval is granted, my Ministry will implement production and issuance accordingly,” he said.
why awarding of contract to produce National Documents such as ID cards, Passports and Driver’s license to either SEMLEX a Belgian Company or Pristine a Gambian Company still not effective”, asked Ceesay in a supplementary question asked the Minister why they awarded the contract to produce National Identity documents to SEMLEX or Pristine before; that the contract to these Companies has not yielded anything for Gambians.
Mballow responded that with the exception of ID cards, the Company issues both the driver’s license and biometric passports for residents in the Gambia and the machine readable passports for those in the diaspora.
Foroyaa will keep readers informed with the report of the remaining Supplementary Questions, in subsequent editions.