By: Kebba AF Touray
Officials of the Regional Government Service Commission on Monday, July 4, 2022 demand their autonomy to ensure they execute their mandate and work effectively and independently.
The said officials made this demand during their appearance before the National Assembly Committee on Regional Government.
The interface with the members of the regional government service commission was aimed at familiarising themselves with the committee and providing updates to the committee on the status quo of the commission.
Mr. Lamin Ceesay, the Vice Chairperson of the Local Government Service Commission, said it is a shame that the commission is not involved in the recent KMC D12 million saga. He also emphasised to the committee the need for the commission to be given some independence to execute its functions effectively.
“The commission and the Ministry of Regional Government cannot be delinked but there should be some semblance of autonomy in order to execute our work effectively. It will be helpful if we have a permanent secretary who will sit with us and be in charge of writing and receiving letters on behalf of the commission,” he appealed.
He decried that the Secretary of the Commission is not being able to write a letter on behalf of the commission, resulting in a scenario wherein decisions taken at their meetings were conveyed by somebody else who is not sitting with them.
He added that this will ensure that the letters are acted upon promptly. He continued that sometimes what happens is that letters coming from the councils remain at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for a very long time, which does not help their work.
Mr. Ebrima KS Dampha, member of the commission, reiterated that the procedural arrangements need to be looked into to see how they can get some degree of autonomy. He further said the commission is directly engaged on issues within their mandate, positing that this will enable the commission to be able to take timely action on matters to ensure that the issues tabled before the committee are resolved swiftly.
Maria Dacosta, Chairperson of the Commission, cited some of the issues affecting the commission, which include but not limited to lack of space to conduct meetings, not being in control of their budget and funds.
“We don’t have a space or office. We rely on the conference hall at the Ministry which is why we conduct our meetings on Saturdays. We don’t have a sitting allowance, what we have is a monthly allowance and this is the sixth month we did not receive our monthly allowance,” she decried.
Hon. Sulayman Jammeh, the Chairperson of the Local Government Committee, informed the commission officials that the interface aimed to abreast the commissioners with the policy direction of the committee in the execution of its oversight functions over the institutions under its purview.
“Engagements with the committee take precedence over all other engagements and any officer who fails to appear before the committee upon [being]summoned without prior authority, will be in contempt of the committee,” he told the officials of the Regional Government Service Commission.