Wednesday, November 30

President Barrow Challenges New Minister, Permanent Secretaries

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Gambian leader Adama Barrow has told Baboucarr Bouy, Minister of Public Service, Administrative Reform, Policy Coordination and Delivery, that he has a big task ahead of him.

He made the remarks on Thursday at State House in Banjul at the swearing-in ceremony of minister Bouy and the permanent secretaries of health, foreign affairs and fisheries.

“Your Ministry, which is a new creation, could be described as the nerve centre of the Government machinery. The performance of all the various institutions and the workforce, in general, largely depends on this new Ministry. Government cannot make meaningful progress without a fully functional, effective, and efficient public service, nor can the public institutions perform in the absence of proper policies and plans to guide appropriate programme delivery,” President Barrow challenged the new minister and the permanent secretaries.

He noted that the reforms initiated by his government are still in progress and need to be pursued vigorously for the attainment of the desired results.

“People argue that the country needs to regain the glory that the public service was known for decades ago; that is, one marked by professionalism and commitment to serving the country through its invaluable human resource. Importantly, our institutions cannot strive for excellence if we do not have a continuous staff performance appraisal system in line with the new public service mandate,” he observed.

He emphasized that these are linked with the new Ministry’s mandate of policy coordination and delivery, which are key in the administration of the Civil Service.

He noted that certainly, there cannot be efficient service or programme delivery without proper policy coordination and administration.

The Gambian leader also emphasised the significance of other ministries in the development process such as the ministries of Health, Foreign Affairs and Fisheries which he said contribute significantly to the progress of any country.

“The performance of these ministries will have far-reaching implications for the people, the economy and our national image, standing and relations with the world,” he noted.

“Entrusting you with the big responsibility of the administration and guiding the policy direction of these four Ministries is for you to deliver on your respective sector mandates.

You have the task of leading the development and implementation of your institutional policies and programmes, in addition to managing the resources in your custody. All these require teamwork, effective supervision and monitoring to ensure timely programme implementation. I encourage you, the Permanent Secretaries, to take your responsibilities with utmost seriousness, bearing in mind that you are the technical heads of your Ministries,” he said.

He added: “You have the responsibility of ensuring that your sector personnel do what is expected of them and attain a high level of performance. Thus, you must set the pace.”

He told the new senior officials that their work directly impacts the health and well-being of the population and therefore, they expect them to diligently execute their duties.

“This is a new government, and we are committed to changing the unproductive ways of doing business. To achieve this, we must break with the past and change the unhealthy sub-cultures in our institutions, particularly indifference, foot-dragging, under-performance and inconsistency.

“Wise time management and focusing on the day’s workload or assignments need to be adopted and maintained without compromise. Cultivate a culture of diligence, accountability, and transparency. Resources are scarce; therefore, they should be used wisely to avoid waste. Government or public assets are often not given due attention. Establish a culture of respect for public office, public structures and public resources. Where there is a need for advice or support, provide it with sincerity,” President Barrow pointed out.