By: Kebba AF Touray
The Mayorees of Banjul City Council, Rohey Malick Lowe, has called on the National Audit Office to provide her council with its Audited Financial Report. She said that the council is now into its midterm, but it is disheartening that the Audit Office cannot still provide the said document for the council.
Mayoress Lowe was speaking at the National Assembly, during an interface with officials from Area Councils, Lands Ministry and Local Government and the Select Committee on Local Government.
She said: “This in my opinion is not fair to the taxpayers whom we are accountable to. I am fully aware of that the National Audit Office might have capacity problems just like any other institution, but there are options at its disposal to carry out the audit exercise”.
She urged the Select Committee on Local Government to look into the issue to intercede. She expressed hope that the committee will look into the matter and bring in the desired solutions, adding that it is in the interest of the people of Banjul.
She proffered: “One of such options is to outsource this very important understanding to a credible Audit Firm. I have been severally confronted by my Councilors on the issue, which I cannot produce because the Audit report is not at my disposal”.
She also said that her council is looking forward towards the amendment of the Local Government Act, which they hope will give councils the power to function properly, adding that local government officials have closer proximity to the people than the government, but she expressed that if their powers are limited, they would only do little for the people that elected them into office.
She said although the Local Government Act was amended 15 times from 2000 to date, it still weakens the powers of the people and is also not helping councils.
On Banjul Project, she said: “Since it took-off, council has been asking for a copy of the contract document which up to now has not been placed at our disposal. As a stakeholder and custodian of the city’s map, it is prudent that such document be made available to us for future planning and development”.
She added, “another issue confronting the council is the sum involved in the project for the purchase of waste management equipment which is about D2 million dollars. As we speak, the contractor has not purchased the said equipment, despite the numerous follow-ups at the level of the Ministry of Works”.
She also implored the National Assembly through the select committee to help remedy the situation, noting that their last hope in this pursuit is legislative intervention.
She also faulted the awarding of contract for the construction of extra roads to the same contractor, stating that the contract of constructing feeder roads, be given to the youth to empower them, adding that these youth look up to the council and government for support and are capable of implementing such works, with particular reference to the work executed by the youth at Haddington Street.