Press Release: Gambia Government Rebuts Mayor Lowe; Maintains Position on KMC & BCC Project Financing
Banjul, The Gambia —Contrary to the misrepresentation of facts on the funding modalities of the new headquarters, Town Halls and allied facilities of the Banjul City Council (BCC), The Gambia Government states categorically, that this particular development is an output of the Rural Infrastructure Development Project (RIDF) benefitting all the Municipalities and Area Councils across the country.
Funded by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to the tune of US$13 million, the project is executed by the Central Government through the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government with The Gambia Agency for Management of Public Works (GamWorks) as implementingentity. This is a loan facility to The Gambia Government negotiated by the current Chief of Staff on 16th January, 2015 as Finance Permanent Secretary II. It attracts a 1.5 percent interest rate and a twenty-year maturity period.
Without ambiguity, The Gambia Government makes it abundantly clear, that not a single dime came from the World Bank as erroneously claimed by Banjul Mayor, Rohey Malick Lowe during her recent Star FM Radio interview.
Significantly, while The Gambia Government made a counterpart contribution of some US$555,000 (25 million Dalasis) in addition to servicing the US$13 Million on behalf all Councils; the totality of all the Councils’ contribution is barely 39.6 million Dalasis of which, 39.1 million Dalasis wasdisbursed. BCC was supposed to contribute some 8 millionDalasis but paid close to 7 million Dalasis. Whereas KMC has honoured its obligations under the arrangement, BCC still has an unpaid balance of 426,000 Dalasis owed to GamWorks.
To their credit, the former Lord Mayors of the Kanifing and Banjul Municipalities, Messrs Yankuba Colley and the late Abdoulie Bah, actually initiated these sub-projects.
While Mayor Lowe is right that President Barrow is the Commander-In-Chief of the armed and security forces, the record is equally clear that President Barrow, unlike his predecessor, exudes simplicity, humility and tolerance towards all regardless of their opinion(s).
Therefore, the Banjul Mayor’s allusion to Mr Barrow’s powers in the context of the BCC projects’ funding discourse is irrelevant and politically redundant. Ever since coming to power in January, 2017, Mr Barrow has not abused the use of the security forces and has no intentions whatsoever, of stifling dissent as evident in the proliferation of newspapers, radio stations, televisions and a flurry of Social Media platforms.
Therefore, consistent with transparency and for purposes of full disclosure, we herein reproduce, verbatim, the relevant officialdocuments that explain the genesis and entire project operations.
Ebrima G. Sankareh
The Gambia Government Spokesperson & Presidential Diaspora Adviser