Lawmakers to Pay Over One Million Dalasi for Vehicles – Upper Saloum NAM

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By: Kebba AF Touray

The National Assembly Member for Upper Saloum, Hon. Alhagie Mbowe, said each National Assembly Member will pay a total of one million, two hundred and eighty-two thousand Dalasi (D1, 282,000), for his or her vehicle.

Hon. Mbowe made this statement while speaking to Mr. Peter Gomez of West Coast Radio Two, during the Coffee Time program.

He proffered reasons why Gambia’s 58 MPs ought to have new cars.

When asked about the cost of each car and how much of that amount will be paid by National Assembly Members, Hon. Mbowe said: “We agree with CFAO, because that is where they bought the vehicles, and we will be paying CFAO not outright, but in the next three to five years. So, it is not like we are taking the money and paying the cars outright. We are paying two million, five hundred thousand Dalasi (D2, 500,000.00) for each vehicle.”

The payment, he emphasised, is not going to be a one-off, but rather it will be spread over a five-year period to CFAO Gambia.

“The D2.5 million will be spread over five years period, and each member is paying 50 percent. Right now since last year, every member has been deducted twenty-two thousand, one hundred and twenty-four Dalasi (D22, 124.00) every month from their salaries,” Hon. Mbowe said.

Mbowe added that by the time their term ends in 2027, each member would have paid one million, two hundred and eighty-two thousand Dalasi (D1, 282,000), for their vehicles. He underscored that the amount shows that each member is actually paying more than 51 percent of the vehicle, and the rest will be paid by the Government.

Hon. Mbowe acknowledges the concerns, comments, and frustrations of the public on the acquisition of vehicles for National Assembly Members, which the populace sees as exorbitant and out of priority.

“It is very clear from the social media and from everyone, we spoke to, that there is no one who actually has said parliamentarians do not need the vehicle. We all agree that they need a vehicle, and I think the only issue they said is the price of the vehicle,” he said.

This, he said, is crucial to make it clear that as lawmakers, they are given a task or job to do in the parliament and that their work does not only stop in Banjul, but across the country with their constituents at all times, within the current terrain that exists in the country.

“So essentially, what we said in the Fifth Legislature was the need to come out with a special car loan scheme that will provide a member with a good vehicle at a reasonable cost, meaning that the member will actually contribute towards getting this vehicle,” he said. He said in any financial transaction, value for money is most fundamental; That in doing so, one has to look at durability and the type of terrain that will be used for these types of vehicles. He said vehicles like Golf cannot serve their purpose if a member has to go to Wuli, Fulladu, and Nuimi.

On how Government will pay the rest, Hon. Mbowe explained that they have put in place a revolving scheme, where they put yearly an amount in the budget for such payments, adding that the balance of the one million, two hundred and thirty-seven thousand Dalasi (D1, 237,000) will be paid by the National Assembly, under the office of the national budget, within the next five years. Mbowe reiterated that the payment of the vehicles will last over the next five years.