By Ramatoulie Jawo
The National Assembly Member for Lower Saloum, Hon. Sainey Jawara, said taking loans is not a problem, but the implementation of the projects is the problem in the Gambia.
“Taking loans for 8 million Euros is not small money. If you check the exchange rate of 8 million Euros loan in dalasis, estimated it will take you around five hundred and twenty- six million dalasis. Taking loans is not a problem, but the implementation is always a problem. If we agreed to pass this agreement now, the burden lies on the citizens,” Hon. Jawara said.
Hon. Jawara said he is supporting this loan because it is going to the health and the education sector but demurred the history of project implementations in the country.
“We are taking these loans for our people. I will register my support because it is going to the health care services and schools. I am in support of this agreement. But implementation is always my problem. Grants always come with a way to implement them. If you are tasked to implement a grant that you cannot obey the rules and at the end of the day, they take it back. But the loans as long as you agree to pay, whether the project is Successful or not, you are going to pay that loan,” Hon. Jawara stated.
Hon. Jawara further asked for the authorities to help them (NAMs) fully understand the content of the loans.
“Because if you check on the procurement, it was not well-designed. The maintenance and the sustainability of the project also are not well said in the agreement,” He stated.
Hon Jawara said the foreign exchange rate should be checked due to its fluctuating nature between when loans are ratified and when they come due.
“Why not check on the foreign exchange? Because if you design this 8 million Euros whether they will take the exchange for today when it is passed in the parliament or the way the exchange is taking in the country is the way they are going to pay this loan. That is my doubt” he asked.
Hon. Jawara made these remarks at the Parliament earlier on Monday
While they (NAMs) were considering and ratifying the Financial Agreement between the Government of the Republic of The Gambia and the European Investment Bank on the Electricity Restoration and Modernisation Project (GERMP) also called Gambia Renewable Energy Project (GREP).
The Bill was tabled by the Minister for Energy and Petroleum Hon. Abdoulie Jobe on behalf of the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Hon. Seedy Keita, who is currently out of the Jurisdiction.
Hon. Jawara asked the Minister to elucidate on the impact of the loans.
“Because they will only tell us the beauty of loans. Every loan that we ratify here always comes with a grant. But at the end of the day, it fails. Can’t you see the Nema project, it also failed? We are still paying the loans, but they took back all the grants to their banks. So, tell us because you are technocrats. What are the realities on the sustenance because sustainability is also very important,” he said.
Hon. Jawara made these remarks at the Parliament earlier on Monday While the NAMs were considering and ratifying the Financial Agreement between the Government of the Republic of The Gambia and the European Investment Bank on the Electricity Restoration and Modernisation Project (GERMP) also called Gambia Renewable Energy Project (GREP).
The National Assembly is currently in its first extraordinary session of the 2023 legislative year.