By Momodou Darboe
The Brikama Area Council’s (BAC) first-ever annual conference Monday served as an extremely vital platform for agitations for the fair distribution of West Coast Region’s natural wealth.
West Coast Region is endowed with resources such as black sand and gravel but the region is said to be losing on lot of revenue as a result of what some conference participants see as the unfair distribution of revenue from mining.
Currently, the department of geology collects 25% of the revenue from black sand and gravel mining, the ministry of finance 50%, ministry of lands and regional governments 20% and the NEA 5%.
Many of the participants, who spoke on the distribution of the region’s natural wealth, complained that the current revenue-sharing mechanism is exploitative and deprives the region of the much-needed development.
“These [resources]belong to us. They are cheating us. We are supposed to be the richest local government area but we’re the poorest,” asserted former BAC vice chairman Sunkaru Badjie.
The Councillor for Kembujeh Ward, Alieu K. Darboe, pointed out that mining is the pride of BAC.
“We’ve been crying for the sand and gravel mining and car park revenues but we cannot achieve anything because government has interest in it. These resources belong to us,” Darboe echoed.
Meanwhile, many participants made passionate calls for the creation of a revenue-sharing mechanism on black sand, gravel and car parks.