By Awa B. Bah
Deputies at the National Assembly, Monday 10th September 2018, engaged the Vice President and Minister for Women’s Affairs Ousainou Darboe, to give an account on the D4.5 Million, donated last year, by the Chinese Embassy to flood victims in Kuntaur. Members made this and other enquiries during the oral reply to questions, for which due notices were given during the 2018 Legislative year.
It could be recalled that the Chinese Embassy late last year, donated one hundred thousand US dollars after the flood incident in Kuntaur, an amount said yet to be utilized.
VP Darboe in his response said the funds have not been utilized due to circumstances beyond their control; that the money is still lodge in a Trust Bank account of the National Disaster Management Agency, NDMA. He said rehabilitation works of the Kuntaur Bridge and dykes which the funds were meant for, are being carried out by the Bin Halifa Foundation of the United Arab Emirates; that work on the bridge in Kuntaur is in progress whilst work on the on the dykes will commence in October 2018.
The Member for Nianija in his supplementary question said it is nine days for the money to clock one year at the Trust Bank; that the issue of the money donated to floods victim had been raised before but is yet to be addressed. He highlighted his concerns as other NAMs since the community of Kuntaur has been following keenly, on the development of the million dalasi donation.
VP Darboe further promised to provide a Bank statement showing the status of the money donated, so as to clear the doubts of the community of Kuntaur.
The Member for Brikama South said since the donation was made for the Kuntaur Bridge and dykes, he suggests that the money be diverted to other issues relating to the developmental welfare of Kuntaur community, since the Bin Halifa foundation has taken care of the bridge and dykes.
In response, VP Darboe said the funds are meant for Kuntaur projects and that consultation will be considered on how to improve the Kuntaur community, in terms of natural disaster.
The Member for Nianija in his comments, underlined the response of VP Darboe and asked him to provide answers to what the money in the Bank can be used for, to prevent future disasters. The Minister said the funds for the Kuntaur project is meant to address future occurrence and the money in the Bank will serve as preventive mechanisms for prone areas in the country.