In an obviouslysincere bid to finding solutions to one of a myriad of fundamental challenges facing the Government-assisted schools, the Catholic Education Secretariat (CES) finds itself entangled in the proverbial practice of robbing Peter to pay Paul. This might sound disingenuous to some as it reflects the carrying out of the wrong practice for the right purpose, which is to ensure the timely payment of salaries and allowances to teachers and upholding the financial obligations owed to a Cooperative Credit Union.
My beef however is with the decision of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) to suspend the subvention of funds voted by the National Assembly for the purpose to CES. God knows that the justification for government’s intervention in education if only in part where the assisted schools are concerned, is most importantly toensure equality and promote equity through opportunities and choice.
In this context, government provides education by constructing schools and employing teachers, funds education by providing classrooms free of charge and in accordance with the Education Act, 1992, provides grants (subventions) to schools it does not own but chooses to assist.
To my mind, the decision of MoBSE to suspend the subvention to CES might not only aggravate the challenges faced by the Government-assisted schools, but would also contravene the decision of the National Assembly conveyed in the Approved Budgetary Estimates of Recurrent Expenditure and Revenue 2020, thereby spawning other unintended consequences.
I do believe therefore that a review of the financial management practices at CES by well-grounded staff in financial management at MoBSE would certainly prove its worth.
Joseph P Jassey, Capt. (rtd)
West Atlantic Security Risk Assessment and Management
GRA and NRA should return management
of car parks and billboards to local councils
I am appealing to the National Assembly to introduce legislation directing GRA and NRA to return management of car parks and billboards to local councils. Yahya Jammeh in his bid to concentrate all revenue streams into the control of the central government for the sole purpose of accessing generated funds and stealing them confiscated these two critical components of municipal government revenue streams. It was an illegal administrative power grab that continues three years into new Gambia. The Barrow administration won’t correct this unlawful seizure because like the previous one it also wants to hold on to the generated funds and spend it as it wishes.
Consequently, parliamentary intervention is the only timely recourse the citizens have. Prior to Jammeh taking over the car park in Banjul, the city generated D12 million annually and they made D2 million from billboards for a combined annual average of D14 million. This constitutes an important part of the resources the city absolutely needs to fund their capital projects including improving and properly managing the car park itself as well maintaining secondary roads.
The government gave the city a paltry D1.5 million in lieu of the car park in the last budget in a classic case of confiscating what belongs to the nation’s capital and then throwing a fraction back at them. It is not right and should be stopped. I urge all of you to lobby the National Assembly to address this anomaly through legislation. Local councils are the best managers of what belongs to them especially at a time when the central government is failing to provide annual subventions required by law to the local councils. The government should not both violate the law in its refusal to provide subventions mandated by statute as well as continue to perpetrate the illegal confiscation of municipal assets. The people’s representatives can ensure that doesn’t continue.