EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: The select committee on regional government, lands, ombudsman, and Independent Electoral Commission held a meeting with regional Area Councils to discuss issues pertaining to financial statement of the councils.
Since the beginning of the 5th legislative session, councils mainly in the rural areas were not able to present acceptable financial reports before the national assembly.
Senior managers of some of the councils admitted to the lack of the required capacity to submit acceptable financial statements.
Councils in questions were those of the Mansakonko in the Lower River Region, Kerewan in the North Bank, Janjanbureh in Central River, Basse Area Council in the Upper River Region.
Ebrima Janko Sanneh, Chairman of Janjanbureh area council explained the deficiency in financial reporting to lack of training at the level of the council.
Pa Sait Ceesay, Chief Executive Officer of Mansakonko Area Council highlighted a few factors including technology as bottlenecks in the governance of rural councils.
He argued that area councils find it difficult to achieve their goals giving the existing revenue bases. He pointed out that councils in the rural Gambia are still working according to the 1965 tariffs which he said has failed the test of time.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Region Government and Lands, Buba Sanyang wondered how the issue of capacity would be addressed when the right persons in the local government wouldn’t attend training packages offered by his ministry.
Chairman of the Select-Committee responsible for local government Musa Amul Nyassi encouraged managements of various councils to collaborate in coming up with a baseline for the preparation of financial statements.
The meeting accorded members of the National Assembly opportunity to figure out ways and means ensure transparent and accountable local governance. The outcomes of the meeting is expected to end the cases in which the law making body would reject financial reports presented by local council for lack of proper auditing.
Written by Isatou Badjie