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National Assembly Joint Committee On Human Rights And Local Government Delivers Report

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Honorable Sulayman Jammeh Chairperson Of The NA Local Government Committee 

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

The National Assembly’s Joint Committee on Human Rights and Constitutional Matters, along with the Select Committee on Regional Government, IEC, and Ombudsman, presented their findings on the Rent Amendment 2023 Bill to fellow National Assembly members for review and potential adoption.

Honorable Sulayman Jammeh, serving as both Co-Chairperson of the committee and Chairperson of the Regional Government Committee, laid out the report before fellow lawmakers. He emphasized that the bill aims to amend the current Rent Act (2014), with a focus on addressing rental issues effectively, as outlined in the bill’s objectives and rationale. The Rent Amendment Bill 2023 was initially introduced by Honourable Madi MK Ceesay, the National Assembly member representing Serekunda West, during the third ordinary session of the 2023 legislative year. Following its introduction, the bill underwent scrutiny, with members referring it to the relevant committee for thorough examination.

“During the review of this Bill the Committee comprehensively adore substantial methods such as Consultation with stakeholders to seek their valuable opinions, Review of documents and position papers presented by the invited stakeholders Public hearing across the country, and Convened validation meeting where Honourable Members and Support Staff of the Committee reviewed various submissions and further scrutinized the clauses prepared and validated the report,” he told his fellow members.

He further stated the committee’s opinion on the bill’s objectives and suggested that the objectives, as presented during the bill’s introduction, should be adopted as part of the bill during consideration.

Additionally, the committee proposed that certain sections of the bill, including clauses 13 and 18, remain unchanged. However, they recommended an amendment to section 19, specifying limitations on rent increases to no more than five percent every three years, or as otherwise prescribed by the Minister and published in the Gazette.

“Amendment of section 19 the committee proposes that this section stand as part of the bill with the following amendments and now to be read as A landlord shall not increase the rent for rental premises, at a rate of more than five percent in every three years or such other rate as may be prescribed by the minister by notice published in the Gazette and subject to the condition of the facility and at an interval of less than thirty-six months,” he said. 

During public hearings on the Rent Amendment Bill 2023, committee members visited various communities nationwide, gathering feedback from places like Brikama, Bwiam, Serekunda Market, Banjul, Soma, Jarra Japineh, Farafenni Market, Basse, and Janjanbureh.

Based on the responses received, the committee made several recommendations, including strict enforcement against the use of foreign currency in rent payments, re-establishing Rent Tribunals in Councils or appointing stationed Magistrates, prohibiting agent mediation in rent matters, basing rent charges on premises’ standards, and banning warehouse construction within residential areas.

Members of the National Assembly commended the committee for their thorough work and endorsed the bill. Subsequently, the report was adopted by the National Assembly members.

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