By Momodou Jarju
The National Road Authority (NRA) has on Thursday presented its reports to the National Assembly Public Enterprises Committee (PEC) in Banjul.
The authority presented its 2018 activity report, financial statement, management letter and Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) compliance report and today, Friday, they would reappear before PEC where members of the Select Committee would take turns to raise concerns as well as questions on the reports.
The idea is to assess whether the institution’s reports represent a fair view of the state of its affairs for the period under review.
This was emphasized by Alagie Jawara, the vice chairperson of PEC and Lower Baddibu lawmaker who reminded the board and management of NRA that the law gives the committee the powers, rights, and privileges as that of the High Court and giving inaccurate information before the committee maybe contempt.
Thus, Hon. Jawara urged the board and management of the committee to comply and give them accurate information which they would use in their work of making laws as well as approving policies at the plenary. The board chairman, Modou S Gaye responded in the positive.
While reading the activity report for the period under review, Momodou Senghor, Managing Director of NRA, said they are facing a lot of challenges one of which is limited contractors in the country. He said they are planning to organize training to this effect.
“Majority of contractors who have registered with the NRA have limited trained staff and equipment required for most of the jobs offered by NRA. We want to organize a training session for some of our contractors and consultants in this country, the local ones, so that we can be in a position to pave way to see how best this challenge can somehow be overcome,” he said.
Scarcity of materials is another constraint, Senghor said, they are grappling with because the country depends on neighboring Senegal on construction materials. He said through their laboratory, they hope to carry out investigations throughout the country to see whether they would be able to find enough deposit of some of the materials imported from Senegal and other countries to be used as a local source for construction purposes.
Speaking further, he said: “Uncontrolled into the encroachment into the road hinders plan for future infrastructural development in this country because wherever we have to expand, normally people have to be compensated before we are able to do so.”
He also said there is need for the NRA to be upgraded to be an autonomous institution which would greatly enhance effectiveness of their work. He cited Senegal as an example.
MD Senghor also called for the establishment of a road safety entity that would work tirelessly on managing road safety issues in the country, something he said, is in Nigeria and Ghana and it is something the UN believes would help reduce or address road accidents in the continent.