By: Ndey Sowe
President Adama Barrow, on Tuesday February 26th 2019, commissioned the state of the art building of the National Audit Office (NAO) complex along Bertil Harding Highway, in the Kanifing Municipality. This is said to be part of activities marking the country’s 54th Independence Anniversary. The magnificent office complex is said to cost eighty two million, eight hundred and sixty-three thousand dalasi (D82,863,000), and is funded by the Government of The Gambia. The edifice was built to create a conducive and adequate space for staff of NAO.
For the past twenty four years, NAO was housed at the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment; thus restricting their need to expand in terms of staff. This hampered the effectiveness and efficiency of the work of staff of the said office.
“This development is prompted by the realisation that the effectiveness and efficiency of public institutions and personnel that serve in them, must operate in environments that allow for maximum performance and productivity,” he said; that as institutions are reformed, so must their physical structures and appearances be transformed correspondingly. “We cannot succeed in the Gambia without the right type of personnel, the right type of institutions and the right type of physical structures and environment,” Barrow said.
The construction of this new building he explained, falls neatly within the framework of responding adequately to all these requirements, for personnel of the NAO to function amicably and effectively.
“In view of the high level of public expectation cast on Government, the National Audit Office has a crucial role to play in our institutional reform program, which is a catalyst for nation building,” the president said; that his Government is determined to strengthen the new NAO to foster efficiency and effectiveness in public administration; that this is a fundamental feature in any democratic system that seeks to promote accountability and good governance, and serves to protect and maintain the integrity of Government and the public sector. President Barrow said it is through such checks and balances that we can deliver public service for public satisfaction, and expressed optimistic that the new office environment will further motivate staff of NAO to prepare and table up-to-date annual reports, in line with international best practice.
The Auditor General of NAO Karamba Touray, said cognizant of the wide remit given to his office, it was necessary for the office to increase staff to execute its functions effectively and efficiently. “The current office space that we occupy would not allow for staff expansion, commensurate with the wide remit, necessitating the need to have a bigger and more suitable accommodation for audit operations,” he said.
NAO he added, is now in a position to recruit the requisite staff complement, to be able to fulfil its mandate in ensuring that public officers entrusted with public funds, are held accountable for their use. “This will ensure accountability and transparency in the use of public funds, which will hopefully translate into winning the confidence of the Gambian populace, development partners, local and international investors, and thereby increase economic activity, productivity and prosperity,” Touray said.
Omar Camara, the Consultant and Managing Director of Swami India International, together with Khimji Pindoria, also spoke at the occasion.