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GAMBIA: THROUGH THE OFFICE OF THE CLERK NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS RECEIVED TOYOTA SUVs worth D2.5 million each

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The National Assembly Members through the office of the clerk, received Toyota SUVs estimated to cost 2.5 million Dalasis each at a presentation ceremony held at the National Assembly grounds on Friday.

The purchase of million-dalasi SUVs for parliamentarians has sparked public outrage and criticism amid the high cost of living in the country.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony Mamadou Cise, the clerk of the National Assembly said the mobility scheme is done in a manner that will minimize cost on the government with the ultimate objective of being self-sustaining in the near future.

He said this is the first time In the history of the Gambia National Assembly to officially accord its members mobility to expand their outreach and enhance one of their mandates.

“The vehicles load scheme facilitated by the resources of cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly is anticipated that the provision of these facilities shall encourage members to continue undertaking their duties and responsibilities effectively and efficiently. We have also throughout the process as required by law ensured transparency, accountability, and value for money. The vehicles are sourced through an open tender with a very competitive vetting process. All the documents were processed and reviewed and approved by the procurement authority,” he said.

He further reiterated their commitment that the National Assembly will continue to be professional and apolitical to serve the institution and the people with integrity and to the best of their ability.

Hon. Fa Bakary Tombong Jatta, Speaker of the National Assembly says the lawmakers have been facing challenges in commuting to the Assembly.

“Let me state at the very beginning that these vehicles are not procurement for luxury they are actuated out of necessity. Over the years Honorable members of the National Assembly face significant challenges in commuting to the assembly chamber for sittings that result to lack of quorum or late start of the sittings,” he said.

He said it is the above challenges that the mobility scheme seeks to address so that honorable members can honor the social contract with the Gambian people as described by law. 

“I am fully aware of the concerns raised by the public regarding the provision of mobility for the members of the National Assembly. However, while I appreciate this concern as it shows the interest our people have taken in the governance of the state, I wish to assure every Gambia that due process was followed throughout the process and the best value for money has been achieved,” the speaker said.

Hon. Seedy Keita, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, highlights the importance of the vehicles to the lawmakers in their work while conveying his appreciation to the Gambian President for his goodwill.

“We have deemed it very necessary to partner with our other arm of the state which is the National Assembly to come together and work on an innovative financial scheme that has made this day possible. We believe as representative of the people you represent an important segment that is the people representative. And as such your working conditions and ability to fully discharge cannot be without the needed mobility,” said Hon.Keita.

The minister further said that the vehicles are not for luxury but an investment in the service delivery that the people have in them (The NAMs).

Mrs. Nikiema, the representative of CFAO Motors Gambia, thank the National Assembly members for their continuous support of the process.

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