Friday, June 9

Government should be transparent in awarding contracts, NA recommends

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By Binta Jaiteh

The report of the National Assembly select committee on monitoring the implementation of Government Projects has recommended that the government be transparent in awarding contracts and the award of any contract to a foreign firm must be in a joint venture with an active local construction company.

After their oversight visit to project sites across the country in a presentation made by Hon Yaya Sanyang, the chairperson of the committee recommended that every contractor must fulfil their corporate social responsibility in their respective project intervention areas.

He said, no contractor should be awarded more than two concurrent projects, except with a record of proven performance and seriousness. Underperforming contractors should have their contracts terminated. The Public-Private Partnership for the construction of the OIC Radisson Blue Hotel should be reviewed.

According to him, all project sites must have a visible work program with the delay in the disbursement of IPCs, Government must complete all Locally Funded Projects (LFPs) before venturing into other LFPs. Government should expedite the payment of compensation to property owners.

He explained that the Ministry of Transport, Works and Construction should consider engaging the Gambia Police Force and the Gambia Armed Forces engineering units for certain Government projects and Gambian consultants and contractors should be given preference in the award of contracts.

However, continuous tracking of progress in the implementation of government projects through the gathering of systematic information on the delivery of targeted outputs and other variables, likewise an independent evaluation of these projects to determine their relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact coherence and stationarity is prerequisite to good governance: that Government projects are always intended to improve lives and livelihoods of the citizenry. It is therefore envisaged that this report, in addition to all other parliamentary scrutinies on the performance of Government projects shall ultimately lead to efficiency and judicious use of public funds, likewise ensuring that projects are timely, with good specifications, and sustainable.

Addressing the Radisson Blue Hotel (OIC HOTEL PROJECT) he said it was born out of a Public-Private Agreement by the Government of the Gambia with IMMO LAND SARL for the design, construction, fitting, installation, equipping, financing, commissioning, operation, management, and maintenance of Five Star Hotel and Luxury Suites. The hotel is earmarked to host visiting dignitaries and delegates for the OIC Summit in 2022.

Furthermore, the proposed project, when completed, will comprise 400 rooms and 10 Luxury Suites, including extra facilities such as Reception, Restaurants, Kitchens, Gyms, Business Centre, etc. The proposed hotel project is estimated to cost the company the sum of $100m until completion. The challenges are that since the foundation stone has been laid by the president, there has not been any serious work on site.Sanyang noted that the project was supposed to last for 2 years, and 6 months have elapsed, and no meaningful progress has been registered he stressed that there is no mobilization on-site, no equipment on site, no workers on site, and no work plan has been submitted to be able to track the progress of the work.