By Aramata Jatta
The National Assembly Select Committee on Regional Government and Land, Ombudsman and IEC has expressed dissatisfaction over Brikama Area Council’s level of awarding contract to non-registered contractors in accordance with the Gambia Public Procurement Authority Act.
These expression was recently made at the Assembly Chambers in Banjul as the management of the council appeared before committee to underscore their achievements and challenges. Council shed light on the projects they are implementing as well as provided answers to a wide range of questions raised by members of the committee as part of their ongoing oversight.
Hon Foday N.M Drammeh NAM for Tumana asked the management of BAC as to what category of contractors qualify for the bidding process, if they all registered with GPPA and if they are fully or above the average compliance?
The CEO Mam Sait Jallow responded that the contractors that they engage are mostly local contractors.
‘’We try as much as possible to comply, and request for it where it is necessary, it is a requirement that you register with GPPA before you are given a contract we are very much cognizant over that . But sometimes there is an instance when you have little things to be done and you give it to somebody to fix for example the door of our toilet before you go looking for a registered contractor and you know a carpenter next door who can fix it’’.
Hon Musa Amul Nyassi chairman of the committee informed the management he wants to underline that just as alluded by the Procurement Officer. He said they are dealing with an institution which has policies and those policies are derived from the local government Act and in the financial manual which has clearly stated how they go about spending council’s money.
‘’There is flexibility in the financial manual Act, you may say its D500 but it’s very big as for the layman out there is too much money and for the fact that is not in line with what the financial manual Act is saying . This makes auditing difficult, it becomes an audit query and audit query is important.’’.
Hon.Nyassi explains that it’s geared towards ensuring that they are giving relevant and accurate services that are there to transform the lives of people that we are there to serve.
Fatou Gibba the Director of Local Government, Land and Religious Affairs seized the opportunity to remind councils that the audit report usually highlight issues relating to procurement either not having the required supporting document or not following the right procedures.
She urge the council to work in accordance with the Act as it is clearly indicated in the finance and audit Act that councils are the procurement organization of their own meaning they can do all their procurement.
‘’ but the statement continues following the GPPA regulation of 2001 so there is no exception for anyone doing certain things because the amount is small even if the amount is small you know what to do, make sure you follow the procedures to get the document.
Gibba called on the council to get all the supporting documents as these are public fund; to ensure that value for money is attain. These she describes as the underlining factor as far as GPPA is concern.
Sherrifo Sonko the Chairman of BAC stated that ‘’We must all agree to what the director just mention , it might be very small to somebody but very much to somebody who is a tax payer or an auditor will not see that as something small . So I think we must try to follow the due process in accordance with the local government and GPPA Act. Is better to follow the procedures which I believe so that next time there will be no room for excuse on that side’’.
By Aramata Jatta