Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Government To Establish New Institution To Oversee Infrastructural Development

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By MUHAMMED S. BAH

The Government of the Gambia has shown intention to launch an independent institution through an Act of Parliament, to be called Gambia Infrastructure Fund (GIF).

The institution which is to be headed by a Chief Executive Officer, will be responsible for the strategic financing of a well-planned and bankable infrastructure, according to a press release issued by Ebrima Sankareh, the Government Spokesperson. The release said GIF is proposed to remarkably transform the economy through large scale household poverty reduction.

“As a new institution, President Barrow envisages that GIF complements the public sector’s role in development, by providing strategic leadership in the creation and delivery of an infrastructure master plans,” the released stated; that among their mandate, the institution will be responsible for the development of strategic bankable infrastructural facilities, and the provision of appropriate financing to support the delivery of landmark projects.

According to the release, the proposed Institution is expected to manage three core areas of responsibility for development such as:

Gambia Infrastructure Trust Fund (GITF):- This will manage the trust fund capitalized by domestic and foreign individuals, and institutional and fund investors, by using market-based mechanisms. The proposed GIF may not place any financial liability (explicit or contingent), on Government.

Planning Function:-This will develop infrastructure master plans and designs, and further manage and / or coordinate construction, operation and maintenance of ensuing infrastructure, through public / private partnerships.

Compliance Function:-This will provide institutional and regulatory leadership required to sustainably manage infrastructure master plans and projects.

When fully operational, the release stated that GIF will invest in three economic hubs geographically spread across the country; that this will be interconnected by backbone infrastructure corridors, in order to engineer economic growth through large scale job creation, and poverty reduction in all regions.

“As a first step, the Gambia Government is to establish an Interim Steering Committee (ISC), to prepare the ground for rolling out GIF within a year,” it disclosed.

The release disclosed that President Adama Barrow is therefore pleased to announce these plans, and will keep the public informed of every step of the way in the weeks and months ahead, when certain milestones are achieved.

The release indicates: ‘‘The Gambia Government notes with concern, that despite modest infrastructural developments since Independence in 1965, the country faces major constrains in its overall infrastructural landscape as compared to our neighbours. Some places in the Gambia are in dire need of major infrastructural facelifts. This general state of dilapidated and decrepit infrastructure or lack of it thereof, speaks volumes to the senseless waste of scarce resources, institutional malfeasance, corruption and poor planning.’’ The release continued that millions of US dollars were lavishly wasted on ceremonies, random acts of kindness and white elephant projects, when the majority of Gambians continued to endure abject poverty, poor educational facilities and a dysfunctional healthcare system.

“Against this depressing background of decades of decay, poverty and underdevelopment, President Adama Barrow proposes to launch an independent institution through an Act of Parliament, to be called Gambia Infrastructure Fund (GIF),” the released concludes.

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