BY ARAMATA JATTA
The National Assembly Select Committee on Regional government, Lands, Ombudsman and IEC on Wednesday 15th October 2020 began a five day oversight visit to Area Councils within the country to gather firsthand information on the level of implementations of projects and challenges faced by them.
The committee led by Hon. Musa Amul Nyassi began its tour at the Kerewan Area Council in the North Bank Region which consists of 360 communities where they meet with the officials of the Council on the projects that are meant to passively impact on the lives of the tax payers.
Alluding to the development projects of the Council, Malamin I.L. Bojang Chairman Kerewan Area Council told the committee that they have provided 3 communities with solar lightening system. He said these 3 communities are very close to the border and theft was rampant around that end.
“We also embarked on the development of 6 boreholes, a market rehabilitation in Barra and waste management structure in Banbatenda, construction of a waiting shade at Sara kunda, repair of 10 hand pumps within the region” Chairman reiterated
Highlighting their challenges the Chairman said Barra ferry crossing point is one of their main constraints. He said the region has over 22,000 people majority of whom are all farmers and it is the only crossing point which connects North Bank to the city.
“You can see how difficult it is and we have only 3NGOs which are supporting councils for development”.
Dilating on his councils cooperation with Gamworks , he informed the committee that they have paid a counterpart contribution of 6 boreholes for ten communities at a tune of 16.5million dalasi, which is already completed and people are benefiting from it.
Lamenting on the impact of Covid19, Chairman Bojang told the members that people of North Bank are seriously affected by the pandemic as many shops were not operating and “sometimes when our revenue collectors go for collection they will tell them we haven’t sold anything”.
“We have a good collaboration with UNCEF, who have given 4 wards each one million dalasi this fund is been managed by the wards and they have identified their own projects majority of which have been implemented. The donors are pleased and want to extend to another 4 wards.”
Director of planning Alasana Keita, told the members that councils developed a strategic plan and all the development they do are in line with that plan. “We have development process and strategic plan which consist of 5 Priorities that deals with education, water and sanitation, transport infrastructure, Arts and Culture, conflict prevention environment and strategy and governance.
He said in 2018, they had some Gamworks projects that were overlapped. Keita said this projects were designed around 2015 and 2016 and councils were supposed to pay a contribution of 8℅ and those contributions overlapped from 2016 to 2019.
“some of those projects have been completed this year but were not handed over due to Covid and all the ongoing projects which the committee visited in 2019 have all been completed.
When the committee asked about the source of income, Abdoulie Khan Director of Finance responded that they generated their income from rates and taxes, institutions and partners , trade licenses, land transfers, car park dues, government rates, daily market dues and weekly market dues which are the lumos.
However the tours continues to Kuntaur and Janjanbureh Area Councils