By Awa B. Bah
State House Press Secretary Amie Bojang Sisoho on Wednesday September 18th 2019, gave an update on the President’s recent engagements in a press briefing held at statehouse.
The briefing was meant to share the engagements of the president with the public and to bring light to other issues of concern.
Among the engagements of the president according to Sisoho, the presidency is reinforcing its monitoring and coordination unit through the department of strategic planning and delivery, as part of those roles; that the structures and operating procedures of the project coordination unit of the various ministries are being reviewed in order to standardize them. This, she said, is to ensure compliance with the National Development Plan (NDP). This, she said, includes a critical analysis of grants and loans to better coordinate their implementation strategies for better yields.
She said a policy dialogue will be conducted with stakeholders to restructure state owned enterprises and that the Gambia Public Procurement Authority will be engaged to address gaps and weaknesses in public procurement procedures and standards, to establish proper and effective enforcement of the procurement Laws.
In a pro-active engagement, Sisiho said the department of strategic policy delivery at the office of the president has successfully coordinated dialogue with the staff and management of the University of the Gambia (UTG). The dialogue, she said, has averted an earlier decision between the UTG faculty and staff association from going on strike at the beginning of the academic year which could have disrupted lectures.
‘‘Rationalizing vehicle management and maintenance cost is being pursued at the office of the president and with Government policy in this context, state institutions in possession of Government vehicles, have been informed to return those vehicles to the vehicle control officer at the office of the president with immediate effect,’’ she told the press; that some have already returned their vehicles but there are some that are outstanding; that a new vehicle policy is underway to ensure efficiency in vehicle management.
Following the president’s launching of the national security sector reform (SSR) policy in June this year, Sisoho said the reform process is progressing with the different security outfits developing their policies and standard operating procedures, and codes of conducts and disciplinary measure to address officers who may go outside their mandates; that the monitoring and coordination of four presidential priorities in line with the NDP is ongoing in order to provide proper briefs on deliveries. These, she said, are rural water supply, provision of labour saving devices to support strategies for food security and value addition and rural electrification and feeder road constructions; that these community development projects will improve the social and economic livelihood of rural people to ensure social inclusion.
On the President’s recent visit to the State of Qatar, Sisoho said agreements have been signed and memorandum of understanding reached in various areas including customs, satellite networks regulation, public prosecution and youth and sport; that as the procedures will have it, details of the arrangements will be presented to the National Assembly by the relevant Ministries.
She said Gambia’s hosting of the 2022 OIC Summit has enabled the country to purchase state of the art broadcasting equipment worth $24 million for the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) and that the staff of the national broadcaster will benefit from training and capacity building to effectively operate the equipment acquired through assistance from the Qatari Government.
She informed that President Adama Barrow has given support to the Government’s White Paper on the concerns and recommendations of the ‘Janneh’ Commission’s report.
On the resignation of some of the staff at the OIC Local Secretariat, Sisoho said their appointments were contractual; that in any contractual agreement, any one of the parties can decide to leave at any time once written notice is provided.
On the diplomatic passport saga, Sisoho said the president is aware and has assigned a full investigation into the matter which is already ongoing.