By Ousainou J. Sawaneh
Honorable Madi MK Ceesay the National Assembly Member for Serekunda West Constituency expressed concern over the high cost of the National Identity Card and expressed his disappointment for awarding the contract of the IDs to Semlex.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News recently, he said the cost of ID card which is pegged at D450 is very expensive for an ordinary Gambian.
“As much as Gambians are longing for ID cards for the past two years, the prize is unaffordable; and that government should reconsider the cost and revised it downward”. He said since the announcement of the cost of ID card, most members he met in his constituency complain that the cost is on the high side.
Adding that “if the ID cards cannot be given to Gambian citizens for free, then let it be given to them at a reasonable cost”. Hon Ceesay said.
In his opinion the Lawmaker said if the production cost is not less than the said amount of D450, then government should think of subsidizing the cost to make it affordable for the citizens of the country.
Hon Ceesay said government agreed to exempt SEMLEX from paying any customs duties or taxes on equipment, machinery, accessories, materials or supplies (including motor vehicles) imported temporarily or permanently into Gambia for purposes related to the design,building,maintenance, and operation of the infrastructure and the project. So why then the high cost with all these exemptions?
He recalled that the previous cost of IDs was D200 under the APRC regime and even zero dalasi during the Jawara regime which is quite reasonable a cost. Hon Ceesay stressed that “Government should and most reconsider revising the cost of ID card”
Hon. Ceesay argued that in a family of 6 how much money will one pay to get his or her eligible family members have IDs.” he asked. He added “the cost should be considered as it cannot be afforded” he noted.
He also reiterated worries and dissatisfaction over government’s idea by giving the ID card contract to Semlex adding that Semlex is in disarray and that their credibility is being questioned. The company is facing police investigations in their home country of Belgium.
Hon Ceesay describes the contract to Semlex as very disappointing, “so why would the government just go ahead and give the contract to Semlex, an institution that is already being questioned in their own country” he reacted.
He call on the government to consider two things ; the contract to Semlex and also revising the cost of ID cards. He concluded
By Ousainou J. Sawaneh