Bojang Jr, the president of The Gambia Press Union (GPU) says there is no
better way of holding authorities to account than to monitor and scrutinize the
way they spend the country’s money and how they get it, where it is
GPU President was speaking recently at the opening of four day training for 30
journalists on Budget and Public Finance Reporting. The training, organised by
the GPU with funding from the International Republican Institute (IRI) brought
together journalists from the print and online media as well as those from the
radio and television.
topics for the training, Sheriff Bojang Jnr added, were crucial to the lives
and livelihoods of all and sundry, especially to the democratization process in
have not done the best jobs to ourselves and to our audience. We are the eyes
and the mouths of the people of our country. They depend on what we report and
what we tell them,” he said.
said everything people do in the country is linked to the budget and public
financing. He added: “The training therefore would hopefully broaden the
participants’ horizon of reporting public financing and budget. This is what is
going to consolidate our democratic gains,” he stressed.
said beyond that speech, The Gambia is open for business, citing the coming of
multi-nationals into the country for investment.
Annerquaye Abbey, trainer from Ghana, said after the budget has been presented
at the National Assembly by the minister of Finance; it is the job of
journalists to further explain it for the ordinary people to understand.
Abbey, who is also a senior business journalist for Citi TV, said: “There are
so many things that the journalists can take and develop them into stories.
Therefore, journalists should use the budget as a guiding tool to hold the
government to account.”
added: “Once we are questioning the policymakers, you are questioning the
technocrats; we are able to get answers… I think in reporting the budget, is
not our duty to report on behalf of government. The government has done its
budget, left to them alone everything should be buried. Because if you don’t
talk about it, they are going to spend the monies anyway,” he said.
Namusisi, country director of IRI, said the budget is very important, arguing
that it is like ‘blood that flows in a human being’.
budget is really important. If Gambia was a human being then the budget would
added: “The budget must flow and in the right quantities to all the different
parts of this country to uncover activities, thus there’s need for the media
and civil society activities to critically scrutinize the budget.”