NA Health Committee Says Enactment of Nutrition Bill Strengthens Nutrition Security

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By: Kebba AF Touray

The National Assembly Select Committee on Health has said the Nutrition Bill will strengthen nutrition security in the Gambia if enacted.

The Committee revealed this in its report on the Nutrition Bill, which was tabled before the plenary on Thursday, 4 July 2024, for consideration and adoption by lawmakers.

The Bill, tabled before the plenary by the Vice President, was referred to the committee, for further scrutiny and report its findings to the plenary.

The committee recommended: “To further strengthen nutrition security in The Gambia, it’s imperative to swiftly enact the proposed bill, aligning with constitutional rights and international agreements”. 

This legislation, according to the committee, will not only ensure adequate nutritional services but also enhance coordination among interventions, establish robust governance structures, and empower institutions to meet the needs of vulnerable groups. 

It added that enacting this bill will signify a commitment to improving the well-being of Gambians and achieving nutrition policy goals promptly and comprehensively

The committee concluded that the proposed Nutrition Bill in The Gambia represents a significant step towards safeguarding the rights of its citizens to adequate nutrition. 

By aligning with constitutional principles and international agreements, the committee stated that enacting this legislation will enable the government to ensure the provision of essential nutritional services, enhance coordination among stakeholders, establish effective governance structures, and empower institutions to address the needs of vulnerable populations. 

“By promptly enacting this bill, The Gambia demonstrates its commitment to prioritizing the well-being of its people and to achieving its nutrition policy goals without delay. Given the above-mentioned observations and recommendations, the Select Committee on Health hereby submits this report for your consideration and adoption by this August Assembly and for the proposed recommendations to stand as part of the Bill,” added the NA Health Committee.

 The sitting of Thursday also witnessed the tabling of the report of the joint committee on Health and Gender on the National Social Protection Bill 2023 (NSPB 2023). The bill was introduced in the plenary of the Sixth Legislature on 4th March 2024

“The Objective of the Bill is for the Government of the Gambia in adopting the National Social Protection Policy (NSPP 2015-2025) to commit itself to the realization of a well-structured social protection mechanism,” said the joint committee in its report.

According to the report of the joint committee, the Social Protection Bill further seeks to provide for the prevention, reduction, and alleviation of economic, discriminatory and social vulnerabilities as it relates to poverty and deprivation in the country as well as to establish a Social Protection Agency, Board of Directors; and for related matters.

The next report to be laid before the legislature was the consolidated report of the Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) on GAMTEL and Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

In the report, the committee outlined issues such as the ineffective monitoring of GAMTEL branches and exchange, and inadequate debt management infrastructure.

The committee among others recommended that GAMTEL urgently expand its network coverage to meet the growing demand, especially considering that internet packages are its primary revenue source. 

PEC also recommended that GAMTEL in collaboration with its line Ministry and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (SOE Commission), must prioritize the recovery of outstanding debts owed by public institutions.

On GCAA, the PEC report revealed that the GCAA has challenges in controlling its budgets and inadequate budget note details for significant allocation changes.

PEC recommended that the GCAA budget Committee review estimates against supporting supplier information. This evaluation should include evaluating price quotes and previous purchase prices.

Subsequently, all the reports of the said committees of the National Assembly were adopted by legislators.

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