State House, Banjul, 4th November 2020: President Adama Barrow on Wednesday embarked on a surprise visit to various government Ministries at the Quadrangle which he said is not ‘a witch-hunt’ but a monitoring exercise.
Accompanied by the Secretary-General and Head of the Civil Service and the Secretary to Cabinet, the President visited the Personnel Management Office (PMO), the Ministry of Youths and Sports, Ministry of Local Government and Lands, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and the Ministry of Finance.
At the PMO, the President tasked the Permanent Secretary to lead the efforts in instilling discipline in the Civil Service by encouraging punctuality and regularity at work.
”You are given a responsibility in a position of trust and discipline is something that you shouldn’t compromise.” He observed.
While inspecting the Records Office at the PMO, the President raised concerns about the safety of the documents and challenges in accessing them on time. Permanent Secretary Jawara was quick to say that they have already initiated the process of transitioning to electronic record keeping.
In all the offices the President visited, his message was clear, ”work for the interest of The Gambia and not for Adama Barrow.” He interacted with the staff and encouraged them to be disciplined, productive, and honest in the execution of their duties.
At the Lands Ministry, President Barrow engaged both the Permanent Secretary and Minister on the issue of land disputes. Permanent Secretary Sanyang, however, assured him that they are in consultation with the Justice Ministry to ensure the enforcement of court rulings in lands disputes.
Stressing that there is need to resolve pending land disputes, President Barrow said, ”We are in a democracy and the courts are independent. I believe the judgements delivered are right and must be respected.” He remarked.
The Lands Minister, Honourable Musa Drammeh used the opportunity to highlight some of the key undertakings of the Ministry including an online data system of all allocated lands in the country. President Barrow encouraged them to communicate more and continue with the good work.
At the Ministry Finance, the President was informed that they are working on the 2021 Budget with a focus on infrastructure development, Health, Agriculture, Education, and a huge cut on travel and related expenses.
Throughout the exercise, the recurrent issue highlighted by various Ministries is the need for office spaces. The President assured that the issue would be discussed in consultation with his Cabinet.
The Barrow Administration has undertaken a series of policy reforms to improve the Civil Service as part of the Civil Service Reform agenda, to ensure efficient and effective service delivery to Gambians. Therefore, the President urged the Civil servants to show a positive attitude to work to achieve the desired results in public service delivery.