By Binta Jaiteh
Hon Yaya Menteng Sanyang, Chairperson of the select committee on monitoring the Implementation of Government projects said the report of the project site visit revealed that one of the biggest challenges which hindered almost all Government projects is due to late disbursement of interim payment certificates to contractors and consultants.
Speaking during the presentation of the report which was adopted by parliament with amendments, Hon Sanyang, said that this lapse could lead to the incompletion of the works beyond the stipulated time. He noted that the other crucial challenges also include a lack of mobilization at certain site camps been documented that some contractors are seriously underperforming, especially on the 50km urban roads and the Hakalang roads and loops.
However, Hon Sanyang said there are some progresses registered, especially in Lot 2 of the North Bank Roads and the widening of the Bertil Harding Highway project.
“This report shall therefore seek to inform the Assembly on some of the Government’s capital projects, their level of implementation, financing, and features, challenges faced by contractors and other officials, and lapses in the implementation and financing of these projects.
He continued: “The report shall seek to advise the Assembly and the Executive on steps to be taken to ensure sound and efficient coordination to monitor and evaluate the undergoing projects. These methods include meetings at various site camps and strategic worksites. These meetings were preceded by a tour of sites and construction areas where the Committee notes their observations and reservations.”
According to him throughout these processes, the Committee was led by officials from the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, the National Roads Authority, project contractors, consultants, and engineers.
“Members also reviewed project documents and engaged contractors and consultants on the ground to ascertain the level of progress and materials used, compared to what is documented.”
He noted that on each project mentioned in this document, information on the contractual agreements, parties, and durations are reflected, adding this shall include the name of the contractor, project design and features, engineers, funding authority, level of progress, contract duration, etc.
“With regards to the NIUMI HAKALANG Loop and secondary roads (84.5 km) through the findings of the members, late payment of interim payment certificates, the impact of the rainy season, the difficulty of obtaining bitumen from Senegal to the project site. No prior feasibility study was conducted before the commencement of the project, and this has created numerous variation orders for the project.
“The Financial progress interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) submitted and processed: 09 Value of the IPCs: D466, 829,834.14 (35.99%) with D137, 957, 869.01 for the site installation (10.64% of the contract value) D328, 871, 965.13 for the works executed (25.35% of the contract value),” he said.
He stressed that monitoring the implementation of ongoing Government projects is crucial to effective and efficient governance. Since it is the responsibility of the National Assembly to appropriate funds and approve loans for the facilitation of these public projects, it is as well essential that the status of their implementation is tracked and assessed. This shall help advise the Executive on the possible steps to improve future projects. This Report reflects the findings the Committee made from the 17th to the 25th of October 2022.
“The Mandate of the Committee that is the Committee is established by Section 109 (1) (e) of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia and draws its mandate from Standing Order 97 of the National Assembly. It is entrusted with the responsibility of exercising the functions of the National Assembly in considering and advising upon all matters connected with Government Capital Projects.”