By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Rohey John Manjang, has confirmed that the government has conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment on the flood-affected communities and says China has supported them with two-handed thousand dollars ($200,000).
“A team (For Environmental Impact Assessment) was constituted by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of The Gambia, led by the Vice President of the Republic. Knowing that NDMA by act is given the leading role to coordinate disaster issues was taking the lead technically, but the Minister of Environment as at cabinet level also was the chair to manage at the lower level,” the minister told lawmakers on Wednesday.
The Environment Minister said that China has already supported them with $200,000 and they are hopeful that the Finance Ministry will also chip in.
“As I’m telling you now, we already have about $200,000 in an account supported by the Chinese and upon that the Minister of Finance is likely to support us as to how far they can go depending on their muscles,” she explains.
The minister disclosed that they have already met and discussed the issue several times and said they created a separate account for it;
“We met several times to discuss this and we already have a separate account designated to support our medium or long-term response strategies which would demand cost, the assessment has already been done so budget by technical experts who joined us during the peak of this disaster period from the World Bank and other UN agencies.
“The report is already submitted to us luckily before they depart of the soil of this country. They attended our retreat, which was organized by the Office of the Vice vice president, and supported by my ministry. They presented their report and experts were present to ask questions and give their input to make it an all-inclusive report,” she said
Having the report, the minister says they are now supposed to meet at a technical level to finalize their next action point after already handling short-term measures;
“So now what we are going to do is to look at the medium and the long term strategy with demand a huge amount of costs, we will all believe, but knowing the financial implications, and the budget levels with the cabinet are not the custodian of deciding what to do. We already have a plan and we don’t want to have it as a firefight.
“The technical team would meet, we were not able to meet as planned in December due to issues beyond our control. VP wasn’t available, and He is the chair. But as soon as he’s available in the office, we’ll meet to finalize our next action point as to what to do and how much we are going to spend. This will surely depend on the financial situation of the country,” she concluded.