By: Kebba AF Touray
The national assembly committee on local government yesterday continued its ongoing engagement with the Officials of the Brikama Area Counil.
The ongoing engagement brings together lawmakers and the council authorities, to know the level of project implementation by the council, the challenges confronting them and chart the way forward.
During the question and answer session, deputies raised issues such as whether the council has project plan and policies, and whether it involves stakeholders in its planning processes, procurement and tendering procedures.
The council in its response, told legislators that the council has a contract committee that sits monthly, but stressed its tendering procedure mostly targets national bidders as they are yet to have a threshold that will require international tendering and that bids are opened in the presence of the bidders.
Council Officials said: “The council did not have a budget committee, but the finance and development committees handles all the budgetary matters and that it involves stakeholders in the planning processes of the council”.
They added: “we will put it into serious considerations to ensure that a budget committee is being put in place to handle budgetary affairs at the council”.
According to Council Officials, the council is faced with major challenges such as low tariff, non-tax compliance of the residents, staff attitude towards work, waste management problems, good drainage and road network.
The council however, cited the construction of toilet facilities, office complex and road rehabilitation, such as Sukuta-Sanchaba among others as achievements of the Brikama Area Council.
The council also appealed to the National Assembly to engage the authorities to ensure that the Old Yundum Fish Market is given to the council to take full charge of the market, adding that currently, it is not under the council and its resources are not managed by the council.
Fatou Gibba, Director of Governance, Ministry of Lands, expressed dismay with the officials of Brikama Area Council for having failed to put in place the centralized structures since they assumed office. She tasked the council to make sure centralized structures are put in place, as they are pivotal in the implementation of the council’s development crusade.
Musa Amul Nyassi, Chairperson of the Local Government Committee, said the engagement is part of the committee’s ongoing interface with the councils to assess their activities, level of implementation of projects, challenges and devise the way forward.
He said: “It is also to provide checks and balances on the activities of the councils, in order that they deliver the needed services to the residents as stipulated in the Local Government Act”.