By Binta Jaiteh
Honourable Yaya Gassama, National Assembly member for Kiang East said Gambians complained over the large delegation that accompanied President Adama Barrow to the United Nations General Assembly 77th Session held in New York recently.
He revealed this during the adjournment debate of the members that allowed lawmakers to ask questions from the cabinet ministers.
According to him, people are struggling with their daily lives and those delegations are paid per-diems. “It has become a serious concern of the parliament and I want the Vice President to advise his boss to limit the size of the delegation he goes with to reduce expenditure.”
He said he understands that the President should travel but non-essential staff should be left behind and let him take those whose services will be important and inclusive to the state.
“As members of the National Assembly, we don’t speculate we rely on the social media and complains from the general public that is why we are elected,” he said
In his deliberations, he also raised the issue of the Ministers traveling adding that “it is high time for the Ministers to report to the NA on the purpose of their travel for transparency because sometimes you begin to wonder whether they are traveling for the interest of the country or their gains.”
According to him, he said people are talking about their per-diem hunting which he said is not a good sign, so, their travel must be essential and they need to reduce the frequency of their travels. Meanwhile, he said cutting down their trips will help them to know how to appropriate funds for traveling in the country’s budget.
However, another serious issue is the daily rise in the cost of living; the people are suffering to survive due to the high cost of basic commodities in the country. People are so worried about this and as representatives of the people “this should be the issue to be raised in the NA.”