By Ousainou J. Sawaneh
The Chairman of Mansakonko Area Council and the President of The Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA) has said that the 2002 Local Government Act has been seriously mutilated.
He revealed that since 2002 there has not been any serious determination by the Government to investigate the resource requirement of the Local Governments to be able to determine their expenditure needs.
Chairman Sanneh made this remarks on Wednesday while presenting the Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA) position paper to members of the Constitutional Review Commission at KMC office in Kanifing.
“The 2002, Local government Act has not dealt with critical areas of decentralisation. Namely physical decentralisation by this, we mean inter-governmental financial agreement. Secondly the power relationship as describe in the local government Act is also fundamentally flouted. The fact that the current Act fail to comprehensively think in the critical areas that affect the local government ability to deliver services as acquired by Act, that is all the reason why we want to present this position paper to CRC to be considered in the new constitution.”
The functions have been assigned to local government but the resources to pay them have never been forthcoming.
The Association said since 2002, there has not been any serious determination by the Central Government to investigate the resources required of the local government and determined their expenditure needs, “Chairman said.
The review of the 1997 constitution is therefore seen has opportunity for the local government to submit series of recommendations to the CRC for considerations”, he concluded.
The Lord Mayor of KMC Talib Ahmad Bensouda said “As you know local government is supposed to increase the quality of lives of residences within the regions. As you know Gambia is very centralised government structures, for this reasons, it is very difficult to deliver services to tax payers and to make sure that their standard of living is improved, and service delivery is efficient”, he said.
“Since we came into the Office, we have been advocating for a decentralized system. Government subventions to local government has not been distributed since 2002. Most of our revenue lines have been centralised making local government very poor and in need of revenue, and for this reason you can see the state of our country. In order for Gambia to develop, in order for our people to have good standard of living.”
Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow CRC Chairman also speaking at event said the CRC process is a transparent and all-inclusive and they will make sure that Gambians are fully engaged in the process adding that every Gambian has a responsibility in the review process. He noted