By Binta Jaiteh
Honorable Badara Joof, the Vice President of The Gambia has revealed that the government is currently in a preparatory phase of a 40 million US dollars project with the World Bank. This project, he said, is called the West Africa Coastal Area (WACA). He added that this project will construct a comprehensive drainage system along the Kotu stream from Abuko to minimize flooding in the Kanifing Municipality Area (KMC) and part of the West Coast.
He stated this during questions for oral answers from the Vice President and Cabinet Ministries at the third ordinary session of the National Assembly in the 2022 legislative year in Banjul.
He said the resilience investment project negotiations will take place in December this year and the project will be effective in January 2023.
He noted that the particular project will focus on the greater Banjul area but that does not mean that the office of the Vice President neglected or oversight the others, “we are in discussion with other development partners in trying to find out a permanent solution to this perennial services.”
VP Joof said the government can confirm that there are two feasibilities studies, one study for the Banjul drainage and sewage system done in 2015 and the stormwater and sewage in the Greater Banjul area done in 2014 both studies have been submitted to the Ministry of Finance and it awaits funding. He quickly added that the main issue with drainage-related problems in Banjul is the presence of solid waste that caused cloaked drains and outfalls.
To prevent this cloaking, he said, waste needs to be removed from the drains frequently and a resolution of the present situation by the implementation of the emergency measures, therefore, requires urgent attention.
According to him, the issue to resolve includes extending concrete drains into the area and building a ring channel for conveyance towards Bond Road also, it is recommended that the pumping house structure itself be demolished and replaced with a much smaller pumping house.
Given the timeline of 2014 and 2015, he said he believes that the consultation must have been extensive but notwithstanding just during the last two weeks during the retreat, he said they had to revisit this and go back to the drawing board because something like 5 to 6 years needs updates.
In that update “we will be doing extensive and intensive consultation not only with the stakeholders but also with the indigenes that know the geographical location of this area,” he said.
However, he confirmed that they are international funded projects and certainly they will have consultants and those people will be updated.
With regards to the children playing in the dirty water during the rainy season as asked by Honourable Lamin Ceesay NAM for Kiang, the Vice President answered that the office is aware of the issue and they have the need to have a permanent solution rather than having short term intervention, especially during the rainy season.