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Lawmakers Refer Motion for Confirmation of ATI Commissioners

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Ismaila Ceesay, The Minister Of Information 

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

On Monday, members of the National Assembly referred the motion for confirming the Appointment and approving the proposed remuneration package of Commissioners for the Access to Information (ATI) Commissioners to the National Assembly Public Appointment Committee.

The motion was presented to the plenary by Hon. Ismaila Ceesay, Minister of Information, who sought lawmakers’ approval for the commissioners’ appointment.

Minister Ceesay informed the assembly that confirming the appointed commissioners by the President aligns with sections 42(1) and 42(2) of the ATI Act 2021.

He also stated that the motion aims to secure approval for the remuneration package for the Information Commission, comparable to the salary scales of other prominent commissions like the NHRC and the SOE Commission.

“The ATI Act 2021 requires the constitution of a committee embodying the Ministries of Information, Interior and Justice to preside over the nomination of Information Commissioners. However, to sustain the spirit of the unprecedented collaboration between government agencies and critical partners that transcends conceptualization, drafting and the enactment stages of the ATI Bill, the Ministry deemed it necessary to coopt three prominent Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as members of the nomination committee for the purpose of inclusivity and transparency in the nomination process,” he told lawmakers.

He explained that the selection criteria for ATI Commissioners are guided by the stipulations of the ATI Act 2021, including considerations such as gender, age, profession, religion, ethnicity, and experience.

Additionally, he mentioned that a forum composed of CSOs and government agencies oversees the selection process. This forum also facilitates the identification and nomination of distinguished Gambian figures through collaborative brainstorming sessions.

“The results of the identification process were further subjected to a meticulous filtration process that culminated in the generation of the primary list of preferred candidates and a secondary list that serves as a fallback option in case of any unforeseen challenges,” he added

He stated that based on the aforementioned and in accordance with the ATI Act 2021, the President has made the following appointments in consultation with the Public Service Commission, pending confirmation by the National Assembly:

“The appointed commissioners of the Information Commission are as thus, Nene Macdouall Gaye as the Chairperson, John Charles Njie, as Vice Chairperson, Baboucarr Cham, Member Bai Emile Touray, Member, Ya Amie Touray, Member. The Legislative Committee would now engage in a consultation and scrutiny process with relevant stakeholders and report its findings back to the plenary,” he highlighted.

The recommended salary structure for commissioners is as follows: the chairperson’s gross pay is D146,500, and commissioners’ gross pay is D134,500.

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