Sunday, March 26

BAC achieves more than all other councils put together – Sheriffo Sonko

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He made this claim whilst reflecting on achievements recorded under his tenure.

The BAC chief even boldly held that he and his team had turned the Council into one of the best and most effective councils not only in The Gambia but also in the west Africa sub-region.

He said his administration hadintroduced innovations“unprecedented” in the history of councils across the west Africa sub-region, such as the digital tax collection system.

Mr Sonko stated that the work they did in past years was “unimaginable”, conceiting that its achievements and developments rendered to its people outnumber those of the other councils put together.

“I am the first person to digitalise tax collection by councils,” he said, adding that such an achievement is an initiative worth emulating across the region as it rules out misappropriation allegedly happening in other councils.

He said what Brikama Area Council was able to achieve under his tenure so far is incomparable to what all the seven regions put together have achieved in terms of development.

“When I came, there was no help for needy students of the West Coast Region,” he recounted.“Last year I paid for about two hundred and eleven students. The Brikama Area Council is doing a lot for our people. I did things that have never happened in the history of The Gambia. Some are even for the first time ever in the sub-region of West Africa.

“I have created a transparency system for the first time in the history of local government fraternity in The Gambia and in the sub-region. That is the digital tax collection system. I have digitized the collection system of our taxes, that none of the collectors would be able to steal funds from the Council.”

Mr Sonko thus urged emulation by all other Gambian councils, saying: “I’m encouraging the local government to make sure this is a requirement for all the councils to practise because it is easy for accountability. It is also transparent.

“I have also got brand new Zero Kilometres Trucks for the BAC. That has never happened before. Brikama Area Council never got its own brand-new garbage trucks. I am the first to buy those for the Council.”

He said he bought them through the money being obtained by the council and not through loans from banks, which require interests on the principal or main money to be paid, as some others did to brag about development.

“I did not take these loans from the Bank. What we collected is from where we pay trucks and finished the payment without interest. When I came to the Council in 2018, there was no electricity in this Council. I went in to make sure that there was electricity in the Council. I have gone to Foni, who were deprived by the previous regimes of many amenities, and we dug boreholes for them.”

He continued:  “I also brought electricity to the Brikama Area Council. There was no electricity here. BAC depended on generators.”

He noted that the importance of the electricity brought to the Council could not be overemphasised, as whenever the generators had problems, the council was incapacitated and unable to carry out transactions.